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Tributes paid to Garret FitzGerald

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Former Taoiseach Garret FitzGerald has died after a short illness

Former Taoiseach Garret FitzGerald has died after a short illness

Former Taoiseach Garret FitzGerald has died after a short illness

Former Taoiseach Garret FitzGerald has been remembered as an outstanding statesman who made a lasting contribution to peace between Ireland and Britain, after he died aged 85.

The former Fine Gael leader who helped negotiate the Anglo-Irish Agreement passed away, poignantly, just hours after the Queen made an historic reconciliation speech in Dublin Castle, made possible by the 1985 accord.

President Mary McAleese and the British Queen led tributes that poured in from international leaders to Mr FitzGerald.

A full State funeral is expected as early as this weekend for the politician, journalist and economist, who led two Irish governments in the 1980s, according to officials working on arrangements.

It is believed Mr FitzGerald's funeral will take place in the Sacred Heart Church in Donnybrook, south Dublin before being buried alongside his wife Joan, who died in 1999, at Shanganagh cemetery in Shankill.

President McAleese described him as the Renaissance man of our time and a national treasure.

"Above all, Garret FitzGerald was a true public servant," she said. "Steeped in the history of the State, he constantly strove to make Ireland a better place for all its people."

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Taoiseach Enda Kenny, who was meeting his Downing Street counterpart David Cameron in the Irish capital, said Dr FitzGerald's only concern was for the people and the country of Ireland.

"His towering intellect, his enthusiasm for life, his optimism for politics was always balanced by his humility, his warmth, his bringing to public life of a real sense of dignity and integrity, and his interest being focused entirely on his people and on the country," he said. "He will be judged as being a true republican who was an icon of decency and high honour in public life."

Mr FitzGerald is survived by his sons, John and Mark, and his daughter, Mary.


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