Tuesday 12 December 2017

James Downey: A powerful mind with a passion for his country

Former Taoiseach Garret FitzGerald at the Mansion House, Dublin, in 2009
Former Taoiseach Garret FitzGerald at the Mansion House, Dublin, in 2009
James Downey

James Downey

GARRET FitzGerald was an intellectual in politics -- a rare breed in almost any country and particularly thin on the ground in Ireland. But for all his "absent-minded professor" manner, he was also a politician to his fingertips.

He had a powerful and rational mind. His passion for public affairs ranged across the world and across history. He loved the telling detail as much as the broad sweep.

And he was a real human being: courteous, tolerant, kind, with a tremendous capacity for friendship. One of his lifelong friends was T K Whitaker, probably the most influential civil servant ever to serve this State.

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