Liam Cosgrave dead: Former Irish prime minister dies aged 97

Ex-leader 'helped pave way for peace on this island', says Taoiseach

Ed Carty
Wednesday 04 October 2017 22:49
Comments
Former Taoiseach Liam Cosgrave, who has died at the age of 97
Former Taoiseach Liam Cosgrave, who has died at the age of 97

Former Irish prime minister Liam Cosgrave has died at the age of 97.

The death of the former Fine Gael leader, whose father WT Cosgrave led the first government of the Irish Free State, was announced in the Dail Eireann parliament.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar led expressions of sympathy and tributes.

“Liam Cosgrave was someone who devoted his life to public service; a grateful country thanks and honours him for that and for always putting the nation first,” Mr Varadkar said.

“Throughout his life he worked to protect and defend the democratic institutions of our State, and showed great courage and determination in doing so.

“He always believed in peaceful co-operation as the only way of achieving a genuine union between the people on this island, and in the 1970s he celebrated that this country had embarked, in his own words, ‘on a new career of progress and development in the context of Europe’.”

Mr Cosgrave was born in 1920 and was regarded as an internationally respected statesman.

He was part of the government which declared Ireland a Republic in 1949, he oversaw Ireland joining the United Nations, and he addressed the Joint Houses of US Congress in 1976. Mr Cosgrave consistently opposed violence.

Mr Varadkar said he was a “courageous voice against terrorism” and protected the State in times of crisis.

“As Taoiseach he played an important role in the Sunningdale Agreement, which helped pave the way for the later agreements culminating in the Good Friday Agreement and peace on this island,” Mr Varadkar said.

Mr Cosgrave served as a TD in the Dali Eireann parliament in Dublin for almost 40 years and was leader of Fine Gael for 12 years.

“His time as Taoiseach between 1973 and 1977 will be remembered for Sunningdale, the qualities he brought in leading a successful coalition government, and his courageous defence of the State against threats internal and external,” Mr Varadkar said.

Mr Cosgrave is survived by his three children, Mary, Liam and Ciaran.

Mr Varadkar described him as a man of great loyalty and kindness with a wonderful sense of humour, strong personal dignity, a commanding presence and great humility.

“His entire life was in the service of the State, and he inspired so many with his quiet determination, courage and fortitude,” he said.

“In my own career I have been inspired by his spirit of incredible public service and as Taoiseach I hope to live up to his great example.

“Liam Cosgrave is perhaps best summed up by paraphrasing one of his most famous speeches: he was a man of integrity who, totally disregarding self-interest, always served the nation. Today we have lost a Statesman and a great man.”

Mr Cosgrave led the Fine Gael-Labour coalition government in the 1970s, which ended 16 years of Fianna Fail domination.

Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Coveney said: “Very sad to hear of the passing of Liam Cosgrave — a gentleman and great political leader.” PA

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in