Saturday 16 December 2017

Fates forced Cosgrave to fill shoes of his father in march of a nation

Enda Kenny and Liam Cosgrave talk at 45 Merrion Square, Dublin, in November 2011. Photo: Gareth Chaney Collins
Enda Kenny and Liam Cosgrave talk at 45 Merrion Square, Dublin, in November 2011. Photo: Gareth Chaney Collins
A young Liam Cosgrave, right, with his brother Michael and parents at the opening of Ardnacrusha power station on July 22, 1929

Gerard O'Regan

The familiar rasping vowel sounds inevitably became weaker as one decade tumbled into the next - but even in his 90s his voice retained its essential waspish texture.

The moustache and the ramrod-like military bearing gave Liam Cosgrave a definable physical presence. In contrast, his father WT Cosgrave was slight of stature - dwarfed by more powerfully built contemporaries like Michael Collins - as reflected in turn-of-the-century photos and newsreels. But it seemed in dress and demeanour, Cosgrave junior was determined to make his mark from a young age.

The tributes have been glowing. The perceived weaknesses and failings of the 97-year-old former Taoiseach, who has crossed the great divide, have been looked on with indulgence. It's as if somebody who for so long triumphed over the travails of time at this juncture deserves a special dispensation when it comes to more quizzical judgment.

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