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Tributes paid to Peter Barry, the 'greatest leader' FG never had


Peter Barry Picture: Tom Burke

Peter Barry Picture: Tom Burke

Peter Barry Picture: Tom Burke

Tributes have been paid to the former Tanaiste and driving force behind Barry's Tea, Peter Barry, who died yesterday after a short illness.

Mr Barry has been described as "the greatest leader that Fine Gael never had".

President Michael D Higgins led the tributes, saying Mr Barry (88) was a man of "great courtesy" and "immensely popular across all parties".

He said his view of Irish history was "a long one, and he brought all that wisdom to bear in his contributions to achieving the Anglo-Irish Agreement of 1985".

Mr Higgins added that in his non-political life he "gained enormous respect internationally through his work in the family business".

Corkman Mr Barry was a TD between 1969 and 1997, serving at different times as minister for the environment, education, transport and foreign affairs.

Between January and March 1987 he served as Tanaiste to Garret FitzGerald.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny said Mr Barry will be deeply missed.

"Throughout his long and distinguished political career, Peter gave outstanding service to his country and to his native city," he said.


"In particular, his central and pivotal role in negotiating the Anglo-Irish Agreement in 1985 helped to create the foundations on which the peace process in Northern Ireland was built.

Mr Kenny said Mr Barry had left an "extraordinary legacy".

Current Tanaiste Frances Fitzgerald added that he had "served his country with distinction, dignity and integrity".

"I will always remember him fondly as a great colleague totally committed to the highest standards in public office," she said.

Housing Minister Simon Coveney, who holds a seat for Fine Gael in Mr Barry's Cork South Central constituency, praised his contribution to business in the city.

"His contribution to Cork and to Ireland at very challenging times, both economically and politically, will be favourably remembered," he said.

"For my part, the Barry family were largely responsible for our family entering politics in the early 1980s."

Former Labour Party leader Dick Spring said Mr Barry was an "extremely loyal colleague and was trusted and respected by parliamentary colleagues on all sides of the House".

Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin described the late politician as a "distinguished minister".

Mr Barry is survived by his daughter Deirdre Clune, who is a Fine Gael MEP, and other children Tony, Fiona (Mac- Carthy), Donagh, Conor and Peter.

His funeral will take place in St Michael's Church, Blackrock, Cork, at 11.30am on Monday.