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Monday 23 July 2018

Tributes from across political spectrum for public servant Murray

Frank Murray, one of Ireland’s most accomplished officials. Picture: Collins
Frank Murray, one of Ireland’s most accomplished officials. Picture: Collins
John Downing

John Downing

President Michael D Higgins paid tribute to the former distinguished government official Frank Murray, saying he was respected by ministers from every political party during his long career.

Mr Murray, a former secretary general to the government, had served in a wide variety of senior capacities in a public service career which dated from 1960. Senior politicians from across the political spectrum have joined in paying tribute following his sudden death on Saturday.

Though he formally retired back in 2000, Mr Murray, a native of Co Leitrim, continued to serve in a variety of government advisory roles. More recently he was one of the leaders of the Independent Commission for the Location of Victims' Remains.

This was set up to locate the bodies of 16 people abducted, murdered and secretly buried by republicans during the Troubles.

Several politicians paid special tribute to Mr Murray for this work, as did his co-leader, the former Northern Ireland civil servant Kenneth Bloomfield.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said he had been an exceptional civil servant.

"In particular, I also want to acknowledge the professionalism and sensitivity he brought to his work over the past number of years at the independent commission," he said.

Mr Murray also served with distinction as a director of Independent News and Media, which publishes this newspaper among other leading titles.

Mr Higgins, who was a government minister from 1992 to 1997 and worked closely with Mr Murray, recalled the high regard all sides had for him. "I have the warmest memories of his service in the 1990s," the President said.

Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan, who mainly knew him through his recent work, described Mr Murray as "a gentleman and a consummate professional".

Former President Mary McAleese said Mr Murray could long ago have enjoyed full retirement but chose continued public service instead.

Fine Gael senator Frank Feighan, a long-time proponent of UK-Irish parliamentary links, also paid tribute.

Irish Independent

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