John Bruton Remembered As "Greatest Intellectual Figure" In Politics

Photo Credit: Facebook @Fine Gael

The former Taoiseach has passed away at the age of 76.

John Bruton is being remembered as "the greatest intellectual figure in politics" by a former Justice Minister.

The former Taoiseach has passed away in the Mater Hospital in Dublin after a long illness, at the age of 76.

He served as a TD for 35 years, before stepping down in 2004.

Laois Offaly Fine Gael TD Charlie Flanagan says Mr. Bruton's intellect was "head and shoulders" above anyone else he served with:

While Taoiseach, he established a working relationship with Sinn Féin Leader Gerry Adams.

Speaking in 1995, John Bruton said the IRA ceasefire at the time also led to an end to loyalist violence in the North:

However, trust between John Bruton and Gerry Adams became frayed following the ending of the IRA ceasefire in 1996, and the bombings in London and the death of Garda Jerry McCabe.

He also faced allegations of corruption, most notably when Michael Lowry resigned from cabinet after allegations he hadn't paid income tax on payments received from businessman Ben Dunne.

However, he also presided over the first visit of a member of the British Royal Family - the now-King Charles - since 1912.

And following the death of Veronica Guerin in 1997 - his government established the Criminal Assets Bureau.

Later, he served as the EU Ambassador to the United States from 2004 until 2009.

Bertie Ahern, who succeeded John Bruton as Taoiseach, says he was a "friendly and likeable" man who had strong views:

Current Meath East TD and Justice Minister Helen McEntee says he is fondly remembered in the county:

Longford Westmeath Fine Gael TD and Junior European Affairs Minister Peter Burke says Mr. Bruton was a true gentleman and Statesman:

"I remember him travelling to launch my campaign for the Dáil in 2011, and since then, without exception, he was invariably supportive and helpful to me. 

On many occasions he provided me with great advice in respect of my European Affairs portfolio, an area which he had immense experience, having served as EU Ambassador to the United States as well as Taoiseach and Minister for Finance, among many other roles over his long and distinguished career.

He led Fine Gael and the Government through critical times in our history, including negotiations for the Good Friday agreement as well as economic recession.

John had a huge personal vote in his native County Meath and served as Minister of State from 1973 to 1977 and as Cabinet Minister from 1982 to 1987. Serving as Taoiseach of the Rainbow Coalition between 1994 to 1997 was perhaps his greatest political achievement, although a passionate supporter of European integration, I’m sure he valued his role as EU Ambassador to the US.

He was elected to Dáil Éireann at 22, one of the youngest TDs every elected, and served as Taoiseach in his 40s, which was a mark of the mature politician that he was."

IFA President, Ballinakill's Francie Gorman, says Mr. Bruton displayed a deep insight into farming issues:

"He was always accessible to IFA and he was receptive to our policy proposals for the future development of the sector.

He kept a watching brief on farming matters during his term as Taoiseach from 1994 and 1997 and ensured that Government policy around inheritance was applied equally to farm families.

His contribution to Irish politics will be remembered as having made a difference."

Paul McGrath was a Fine Gael TD for Longford Westmeath during Mr. Bruton's time as leader of the party.

He says the former Taoiseach set a "tough" tone:

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