Belfast Telegraph

Liam Cosgrave funeral: Military police officers carry coffin of former Taoiseach

By Michael McHugh and Ed Carty

Ten military policemen carried the coffin of former Taoiseach Liam Cosgrave as his funeral began in Dublin.

Born in 1920, Mr Cosgrave had a 40-year political career and was part of the government which saw Ireland become a Republic in 1949.

He also oversaw Ireland joining the United Nations, addressed the US Congress in 1976 and signed the Sunningdale Agreement in Northern Ireland which led to a short-lived powersharing executive in Belfast in 1972.

Mr Cosgrave died on Wednesday. He was 97.

Current leader Leo Varadkar and his predecessors Enda Kenny and Bertie Ahern were among those who attended funeral mass at the Church of the Annunciation in Rathfarnham.

Members of the judiciary, Army and police also paid their respects.

Mr Cosgrave will be buried in Goldenbridge Cemetery, Inchicore, beside his father WT Cosgrave, a key figure in the foundation of the Irish Free State and an officer in the 1916 Rising.

His wife Vera died last year.

Following tributes from across the political spectrum in Ireland, the Cosgrave family, his three children, Mary, Liam and Ciaran, were offered a state funeral.

At their request the funeral mass and burial will have some trappings of state but it is a private service.

Mr Cosgrave was taoiseach from 1973-77, some of the most turbulent years of the Northern Ireland Troubles.

He has been described as a consistent and courageous voice against terrorism.

He was at the head of government on the worst day of atrocities in the Troubles - the Dublin-Monaghan bombings on May 17 1974 when loyalists killed 33 people, including a pregnant woman at full term.

Mr Cosgrave also covered the cost of his father's state funeral in 1965.

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