Tuesday 21 November 2017

Taoiseach cancels trip abroad to attend funeral

Beverley East signing the book of condolence at Dun Laoghaire's town hall, Co Dublin, yesterday
Beverley East signing the book of condolence at Dun Laoghaire's town hall, Co Dublin, yesterday

Fionnan Sheahan and Gordon Deegan

President Mary McAleese and Taoiseach Enda Kenny will be among the dignitaries attending former Taoiseach Garret FitzGerald's state funeral tomorrow.

Mr Kenny cancelled his planned trip to the Heineken Cup Final in Cardiff today, where Leinster play Northampton, due to the passing of Dr FitzGerald.

Dr FitzGerald will lie in repose in the Mansion House today from 11am to 7pm. Members of the public will be allowed to file past the coffin in the Oak Room to pay their respects to Dr FitzGerald and to sign a book of condolence.

He will be removed to the Sacred Heart Church in Donnybrook at 8pm tonight.

The funeral mass will take place in the church at 2.30pm. Father Enda McDonagh will be chief celebrant at the funeral Mass.

Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin will also be in attendance. After the funeral Mass, at around 3.45pm, the funeral cortege will proceed to Shanganagh Cemetery in Shankill, Co Dublin, where it will arrive at around 4.30pm.

Dr FitzGerald will be laid to rest alongside his wife Joan. He will be buried with full military honours.

Dublin's Lord Mayor Gerry Breen said he was privileged to make the Mansion House available to the FitzGerald family for the repose of Dr FitzGerald. "Garret FitzGerald served with integrity and honour both as Minister for Foreign Affairs and as Taoiseach," he said.

Former Fine Gael senator Dr Maurice Manning said yesterday the qualities of greatness and goodness merged so perfectly in Garret FitzGerald that everyone genuinely felt his loss.

Dr Manning succeeded Dr FitzGerald as Chancellor of the National University of Ireland.

Speaking in Shannon yesterday, he said: "I remember at an occasion in the Mansion House 30 years ago when James Dillon, his predecessor as leader of Fine Gael, on his last public occasion, said very simply of Garret, 'Dr FitzGerald is not just a great man, he is a good man'."

Dr Manning added: "I think that those two qualities of greatness and goodness, that aren't always found together, merged so perfectly in Garret that we all genuinely feel his loss."

Irish Independent

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