Slugger O'Toole

Conversation, politics and stray insights

So long Garret: A bloggish round up…

Fri 20 May 2011, 2:07pm

Kicking off with Bock, who rarely has a kind word for any politician…

He was naive, he was fussy.  He was occasionally pedantic to the point of idiocy.  He wasn’t always right, but he was sincere and his principles derived from careful thought, not from slogans.  In the 1980s, he articulated the almost unthinkable notion for the time that Ireland might abandon its sectarian structures and become a pluralist society, with room for all beliefs.

- Ditto Anthony

- And the peerless Suzy Byrne

He was a crusader and we have not had many since like him in their wish to reform or in their understanding  of social justice from the blue side of the Dáil – yes he got it wrong on the shoes and was played into a corner by the Pro Life movement but he supported women’s participation in politics and not just by lip service and wanted widespread constitutional reform.

- And our man Dan (a fellow blueshirt and believer)…

…he demanded that you do this for yourself. No blind loyalty for him, you had a responsibility to work through the argument and reach what you could then see for yourself was the correct conclusion. He wanted you to find the conclusion with him, and then join with him.

The Telegraph’s Obit on his upbringing

His mother raised him scrupulously as a Catholic, in deference to his pious father’s wishes, although she could not bring herself to teach him the Sign of the Cross. He said later that, although a lifelong devout Catholic, he was always much too embarrassed to cross himself at religious occasions.

And Maria Farrell with a beautiful snippet from his private life:

Every summer, he and his daughter Mary organized a weeks-long summer house rental in the south of France, where a rota of family, friends and especially his beloved grand-children and their friends would come through, with 20-30 people at a time sitting down for dinner. (Everyone took turns cooking dinner and Garret calculated contributions based on a characteristically complex but fair formula.)

Alex Massie in the Spectator

He blundered on abortion and his divorce referendum was defeated by the Bishops and the electorate. His desire to amend Articles 2 and 3 of the Irish constitution, which laid claim to the six counties of Northern Ireland, was dismissed as just another quixotic obsession and stop on his “intellectual pub crawl from one issue to the next”. Nevertheless, FitzGerald was ahead of his time.

And from the Irish Times Obit:

He had the impeccable nationalist pedigree of having had both parents in the GPO for the 1916 Easter Rising. But they also represented different traditions as his father, Desmond FitzGerald, came from Catholic Munster stock though born and brought up in London; while his mother, Mabel McConnell, was from a Northern Protestant family. They met in London where both were involved in the Gaelic League.

- Kevin Myers

I WOULDN’T want to be St Peter at his gates this morning, with Garret FitzGerald beside him, on his hands and knees measuring the width between the stone plinths to see whether the next Luas line could fit.

Finally via the Cedar Lounge, the RTE Obituary…

Let us know if we’ve missed anything…

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Comments (8)

  1. Well you missed my Blog.
    But basically my point was recalling that there was a time (prior to about 2002) when I could listen to a radio interview or read a book without noting date, time, chapter page……..so that I could use it as evidence in a Blog.
    About ten years ago FitzGerald candidly admitted that Europe” DID mean loss of sovreignty for Ireland…….and that its phased nature was because the Electorate would never have bought into it at the start.
    Too manipulative for me. Too “cute”.
    I cannot demur from the concensus that he was a good guy.
    But I cant help feeling that if you get the reputation for getting up early, you can lie in bed all day.

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  2. Mick Fealty (profile) says:

    Erm, I’m embarrassed to say this, but I don’t know where your blog is…

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  3. Its ok…Id be embarrassed if you found one of them. :)

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  4. Dewi (profile) says:

    Don’t be shy FJH:
    http://myplasticarmy.blogspot.com/

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  5. Dewi (profile) says:

    Sorry – that’s not it….

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  6. Actually it is one of them. That one was set up specifically set up for the Assembly Elections. And will cease if I ever get round to writing up the results.

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  7. gréagóir o frainclín (profile) says:

    Ah Garret Fitzgerald was a true Republican, Intellectual and Democrat and he must be admired for kick starting the present peace process and his crusade to liberalise strait-jacketed Catholic Ireland. All has paid off. The country is so different, socially, to what it was like in the 1980′s, well bar the economy…..as usual! …with it’s ups and downs etc… but that capitalism and the free market that we fully embraced!

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  8. Los Leandros (profile) says:

    Garrett was’nt as squeaky clean as his liberal fundamentalist acolytes/sychophants would like to portray. Having had a huge loan written off by his bank. Not a priviliege accorded to us ordinary punters. His historical legacy – divorce ( dont think many children of divorce will celebrate that dubious achievement ) & attempted abortion. Hardly two great contributions to humanity. Let’s not forget he had the supporrt of most of the media & political establishments on his side ; bad mouthing those who dared to dissent. Thankfully the Catholic Church gave some degree of pluralism to proceedings. Part of Fitzgerald’s legacy is that we now have a much less tolerant society, unless you unquestioningly accept the diktats of liberal/feminist fundamentalism.

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