Bruce Arnold: 'Father of the Country' who truly transcended politics
GARRET FitzGerald enjoyed a unique status in Ireland that transcended all the usual barriers politicians face. He was acceptable to all sides and spoke to all Irishmen and women with an egalitarianism and sense of justice that made him a truly loved figure. It also raised him to the status of Father of the Country.
In the broadest possible sense, he presided with distinction and integrity over modern Irish political life, his active career in politics and public affairs dating back to the 1960s.
As a young journalist starting out at the beginning of that decade, I came under his direct influence. As a sub-editor in the 'Irish Times', I was invariably given his weekly column to edit, a mass of closely typed words dealing with statistics and economics, telling us what was wrong with our public service and our political leadership.