Thursday, May 19, 2011

Ireland-Obituary of Former Fine Gael Taoiseach Dr Garret FitzGerald

This RTE video gives a flavour of the real Garret Fitzgerald. He was a politician of the highest integrity. I did not agree with his support for divorce, which is inimical to marriage. His greatest achievement was undoubtedly the Anglo Irish Agreement. Garret and British Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher signed the agreement on 15 November 1985 at Hillsborough Castle. The revolutionary agreement established the Anglo-Irish Intergovernmental Conference which was made up of officials from the British and Irish governments.
It was a form of joint rule which triggered massive Unionist opposition. However it achieved its aims. It essentially depowered the Unionists who could not pull down the new structure. The Unionists could only replace the Agreement if they were to offer a meaningful role to the Catholic minority in Northern Ireland. Gradually Unionist leaders such as David Trimble and later Ian Paisley began to accept the view that the best way to get rid of the Anglo Irish Agreement was to offer a fair deal to Northern Nationalists. So it achieved its objective of helping to break the logjam. This paved the way for the succeeding Peace Process. Garret had a great understanding of the Northern Unionist mentality as his mother was a Northern Protestant. Throughout his life (even when it was not popular) Garret built bridges with Northern Unionists. He realised that it was necessary to unify people. (RIP)

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