Wednesday 22 February 2017

Martina Devlin: I came to see a statesman -- but I saw much more

Published 20/05/2011 | 05:00

I TURNED up to see a statesman. And I saw one -- but I saw other sides to Garret FitzGerald as well, sides I wasn't expecting.

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The occasion was just two months ago, when I saw in him a Fine Gaeler who couldn't hide his delight that his party was finally in government after so many years in the wilderness. His public insistence that politics were behind him and he was now apolitical didn't convince that day, but it was the immediate aftermath of the general election.

I saw a writer who was thrilled at a full house to hear him discuss his work. I saw a communicator with a gift for conversation who held that audience enthralled. I saw a man with a phenomenal recall for detail despite being 85 years old.

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