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Sunday 17 November 2019

He was a class act, cut crystal: Bono praises Garret FitzGerald

Former Taoiseach Garret FitzGerald was yesterday hailed by Enda Kenny as 'a remarkable man who made a remarkable contribution to Irish life'
Former Taoiseach Garret FitzGerald was yesterday hailed by Enda Kenny as 'a remarkable man who made a remarkable contribution to Irish life'

Ed Carty and Michael McHugh

U2 frontman Bono has paid his own inimitable tribute to former taoiseach Garret FitzGerald who he struck a friendship with in the early days of U2.

The Dubliner who is in the US preparing for the next leg of the band's latest tour said he felt pride when Garret FitzGerald led the country.

Bono said he was a gentleman who followed the rules while others did not.

"He rebranded Ireland with his grace and intellect. I remember feeling very proud that he was our leader," he said.

He met Dr Fitzgerald 30 years ago when they shared a flight from London to Dublin and stayed in touch in the following years.

Bono, who backed some of Dr FitzGerald's liberal agenda, also invited the then politician to a photo session in the early 1980s and the future taoiseach sat at the mixing desk of a 24-track modern recording studio.

The star added: "(He was) a class act, cut crystal, diamond mine of information, statistics, the detail of people's lives, that he so cared about."

Members of the public will pay their final respects to Mr FitzGerald tomorrow as he lies in state ahead of Sunday's funeral.

The former Fine Gael leader, (85), died after a short illness yesterday. His remains will be in the Mansion House and members of the public will be able to file past the coffin and sign a book of condolence.

Dr FitzGerald, who helped negotiate the Anglo-Irish Agreement, died just hours after the Queen delivered an historic reconciliation speech in Dublin Castle, made possible by the 1985 accord.

President Mary McAleese and the Queen led tributes that poured in from international leaders.

The full state funeral will take place on Sunday afternoon for the politician, journalist and economist, who led two governments in the 1980s.

Dr FitzGerald's body will lie in repose in the Oak Room of the Mansion House between 11am and 7pm tomorrow. Other books of condolence have been opened in Cork and other cities in Ireland.

His remains will be brought to the Sacred Heart Church in Donnybrook, south Dublin, that evening where people will again be allowed to pay their respects, and where the funeral will take place on Sunday at 2.30pm.

The former taoiseach will be buried alongside his wife Joan, who died in 1999, at Shanganagh cemetery in Shankill.

Mrs McAleese described him as the Renaissance man of our time and a national treasure.

Flags will fly at half-mast on all government buildings until after the funeral.

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