Martina Devlin: Like it or not, we do owe Blair a debt of gratitude
Towards Ireland, Blair gave liberally of his time, energy and patience... He believed in peace. And peace came to pass
Tony Blair always gave good walkabout. I tailed him on a number of occasions in the North, as he pressed the flesh during the peace-process years, and his people skills never deserted him.
Obviously, he was not universally liked -- I remember a 'man of God' who criticised him to his face over his choice of wife, specifically because of her religion. In certain circles there was fear, yes fear, that Cherie would influence her husband to convert -- and, indeed, within months of leaving Downing Street he was received into the Catholic Church.