Sunday 24 June 2018

Sutherland's 'generous service' recalled at funeral

President Michael D Higgins and wife Sabina comfort the late Peter Sutherland’s wife Maruja at the Church of the Sacred Heart in Donnybrook after his funeral Mass yesterday. Photo: Steve Humphreys
President Michael D Higgins and wife Sabina comfort the late Peter Sutherland’s wife Maruja at the Church of the Sacred Heart in Donnybrook after his funeral Mass yesterday. Photo: Steve Humphreys
Nicola Anderson

Nicola Anderson

Peter Sutherland promoted globalisation because he saw it as "a means of lifting billions out of grim poverty and of countering narrow nationalism" - though his enthusiasm for the benefits "may have blurred his view of its downside", mourners at his funeral heard.

Pope Francis sent a message of condolence and appreciation to the family of the international statesman and former attorney general, who was also an adviser to the Holy See.

The message to the family through the Pontiff's secretary of state, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, read: "With deep appreciation for Mr Sutherland's dedicated assistance to the Holy See, mindful of his many years generous service to the international community, especially in the support of migrants, His Holiness entrusts his soul to the merciful love of our heavenly father."

President Michael D Higgins and his wife Sabina as well as Taoiseach Leo Varadkar attended the requiem mass for the international statesman and former attorney general who died at the weekend at the age of 71, following a prolonged battle with cancer.

Chief mourners were Mr Sutherland's wife Maruja, sons Shane and Ian, daughter Natalia and his "10 precious grandchildren".

Reflecting his great influence and talent for friendship, mourners were in attendance from across the worlds of politics, business and law.

Former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern and Green Party leader Eamon Ryan pictured this afternoon at the funeral of Peter Sutherland. Photo: Colin Keegan, Collins Dublin.
Former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern and Green Party leader Eamon Ryan pictured this afternoon at the funeral of Peter Sutherland. Photo: Colin Keegan, Collins Dublin.

Former taoisigh Bertie Ahern and Enda Kenny attended the funeral at the Church of the Sacred Heart in Donnybrook.

Former leader of Fine Gael Alan Dukes, Finance Minister Michael Noonan and ministers Paschal Donohoe, Richard Bruton and Eoghan Murphy, as well as leader of Fianna Fáil Micheál Martin and former FF finance minister Charlie McCreevy were also in attendance.

Former Italian prime minister Mario Monti attended, alongside EU commissioner Phil Hogan and MEP Mairead McGuinness.

Businessman Denis O'Brien was there, as was Declan Ganley, Paul McGuinness and wife Kathy Gilfillan, Harry Crosbie, Tony Barry and former Ireland rugby player Keith Wood.

Businessman Denis O'Brien pictured this afternoon at the funeral of former Attorney General, Peter Sutherland at the Church of the Sacred Heart, Donnybrook. Photo: Colin Keegan, Collins Dublin.
Businessman Denis O'Brien pictured this afternoon at the funeral of former Attorney General, Peter Sutherland at the Church of the Sacred Heart, Donnybrook. Photo: Colin Keegan, Collins Dublin.

Green Party leader Eamon Ryan and former environment minister John Gormley also attended the service, as did Dublin city councillor Mannix Flynn.

Attorney General Seamus Woulfe and Chief Justice Frank Clarke were present along with President of the High Court Peter Kelly, Mr Justice Michael Moriarty, former Attorney General John Rogers and Mr Justice George Bermingham.

Fr Noel Barber, a teacher at Gonzaga College, recalled first meeting Mr Sutherland as a "jolly fourth year student" in the 1960s but quipped that "stellar success did not mark these years".

Nevertheless, he was tipped as someone who "if he wanted something, would go and get it".

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar consoles Mr Sutherland’s daughter Natalia. Photo: Colin Keegan, Collins Dublin.
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar consoles Mr Sutherland’s daughter Natalia. Photo: Colin Keegan, Collins Dublin.

Fr Barber said Mr Sutherland carried out extensive acts of philanthropy which were known to relatively few people.

"He promoted globalisation because he saw it was a means of lifting billions out of grim poverty and of countering a narrow nationalism, which avoids global responsibility," he said.

"His enthusiasm for the real benefits of globalisation may, indeed, have blurred his view of its downside but he rightly emphasised its benefit to the poorer countries of the world."

A glowing tribute was also paid by former senior Judge Garrett Sheehan, a long time friend of Mr Sutherland, who described him as an optimist when it came to the political process.

With his big heart and zest for life, he was a force of life in every boardroom, he said.

Former Taoiseach Enda Kenny at the funeral mass of Peter Sutherland at Church of the Sacred Heart in Donnybrook. Photo: Steve Humphreys
Former Taoiseach Enda Kenny at the funeral mass of Peter Sutherland at Church of the Sacred Heart in Donnybrook. Photo: Steve Humphreys

None of Mr Sutherland's many successes could have been achieved without the patience, constant presence and love of his wife Maruja, he said.

Mr Sutherland's son Shane spoke with love of his father and said his 50 years with Maruja was an inspiration to them all.

Members of Lansdowne Rugby Club formed a guard of honour as the coffin left the church.

Ministers Richard Bruton and Paschal Donohoe pictured this afternoon at the funeral of former Attorney General, Peter Sutherland at the Church of the Sacred Heart, Donnybrook. Photo: Colin Keegan, Collins Dublin.
Ministers Richard Bruton and Paschal Donohoe pictured this afternoon at the funeral of former Attorney General, Peter Sutherland at the Church of the Sacred Heart, Donnybrook. Photo: Colin Keegan, Collins Dublin.

Following the funeral Mr Sutherland was buried in Kilternan Cemetery.

Irish Independent

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