Home News Ireland News Former Taoiseach John Bruton to be laid to rest on Saturday

Former Taoiseach John Bruton to be laid to rest on Saturday

Former Taoiseach John Bruton will be laid to rest this weekend following a state funeral in his native Co Meath.

The 76-year-old, who served as Taoiseach from 1994 to 1997, died on Tuesday at Dublin’s Mater Private Hospital following a long battle with illness.

A pivotal player during the peace process in the 1990s, when he launched the Anglo-Irish Framework Document with then-British Prime Minister John Major, the ex-Fine Gael leader is set to be buried after a funeral in the Co Meath town where he was born and raised.

Following the funeral, flags will be flown at half mast on all government buildings in the Republic as a mark of respect.

A death notice published online on Wednesday said his remains will be removed to St Peter and St Paul’s Church in Dunboyne on Friday evening, ahead of a funeral mass the following morning at 11am.

A burial service will then take place at Dunboyne’s Rooske Cemetery.

The death notice said Mr Bruton will be “very sadly missed by his devoted wife Finola, son Matthew, daughters Juliana, Emily and Mary-Elizabeth, grandchildren Ophelia, Hugo, Oliver and Robin, sons-in-law Maxence and Eibi”.

It added: “He is also survived by his brother Richard and sister Mary, nieces and nephews. He will be greatly missed by all his extended family, friends and colleagues.”

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Mr Bruton was leader of Fine Gael from 1990 until January 2001.

As Taoiseach he was instrumental in working with British prime minister Sir John Major to launch the Anglo-Irish Framework Document in 1995, which proposed new relations between Ireland, Northern Ireland and the UK.

In 2002 he was re-elected to the Dáil until he resigned his seat two years later.

He was then appointed the EU Ambassador to the United States, which he did until 2009.

Leading the tributes, Sir John said: “I was shocked to learn of the loss of John Bruton.

“He was a brave and talented taoiseach who contributed mightily to the early days of the peace process.

“In testing circumstances, he put peace above political self-interest to progress the path towards the end of violence.

“He was a formidable servant of the Irish nation and of peace, and I am deeply saddened at his passing.”

Jeffrey Donaldson, leader of the Democratic Unionist Party, referred to Mr Bruton as a “gentlemen” who, as prime minister, “reached out to unionists to try and gain a better understanding of our position and to encourage practical cooperation”.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with his family at this time,” he wrote on X.

Northern Ireland First Minister Michelle O’Neill also sent condolences to Mr Bruton’s family while speaking in the Assembly.

“I want to pass on my condolences to the family of former taoiseach John Bruton, who we’ve just been notified has sadly passed away,” she said.

“To his family and friends, we send them our condolences at this very sad time.”

Maria Walsh, politician and MEP for the Midlands-North-West, wrote on X: “Very saddened to learn of John Bruton’s death, peacemaker & politician of high regard.

“His legacy of public service will live on beyond us, history will keep his work alive, peace is his impact. Condolences to his family, friends, colleagues.”

During expressions of sympathy in the Dáil on Wednesday, the former Taoiseach, who was first elected as a TD for Meath at the age of 22, was described as a “modern Irish patriot”.

He retired from domestic politics in 2004 but served as the European Union’s ambassador to the US until 2009.

The speaker of the house, Ceann Comhairle Seán Ó Fearghaíl, said it was “profoundly sad” occasion.

Fine Gael leader and Taoiseach Leo Varadkar extended his sympathy to the Bruton family, who he said exemplify positive principles of Irish politics.

“While his public persona was often intellectual and serious – as a person, he was always good company, funny, witty, gregarious, sociable, self-deprecating with a distinctive and infectious laugh,” Mr Varadkar said.

“He continued to radiate optimism and confidence, and continued to inspire those around him as he worked to improve the lives of others.”

The family statement said that Mr Bruton is survived by his wife, Finola, son Matthew and daughters; Juliana, Emily and Mary-Elizabeth, grandchildren, sons-in-law, his brother, Richard and sister, Mary, nieces, nephews, many cousins and extended family.

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