The President and Taoiseach will join hundreds of mourners at today’s funeral Mass for former tánaiste Peter Barry.
Michael D Higgins and Enda Kenny led tributes to the former deputy leader of Fine Gael and key architect of the 1985 Anglo Irish Agreement, following his death in Cork’s Marymount Hospice on Friday, after a short illness. He was 88.
A large crowd of mourners, led by his children, Ireland South MEP Deirdre Clune, Tony, Fiona, Donagh, Conor, and Peter, attended his removal from O’Connor’s funeral home on Boreenmanna Rd on Saturday.
Among those to pay their respects to one of Cork’s great merchant princes and the figurehead of one of Ireland’s political dynasties, were former taoiseach Liam Cosgrave, former tánaiste Dick Spring, Housing Minister Simon Coveney, and Finance Minister Michael Noonan.
Mr Barry’s remains were carried from the funeral home by some of his 21 grandchildren, before being taken to his local church, St Michael’s in Blackrock, where Requiem Mass will be celebrated by Fr Kieran Twomey at 11.30am today.
There were tributes over the weekend for Mr Barry, widely regarded as the best leader Fine Gael never had.
As well as spearheading the expansion of the family business, Barry’s Tea, Mr Barry served as TD for Cork South Central from 1969 to 1997 and held four cabinet positions, including minister for foreign affairs.
He was hailed for his role in negotiating the Anglo Irish Agreement, described by former taoiseach John Bruton as his “signal achievement”.
“In a society in Northern Ireland that was deeply divided between majority and minority, the Anglo Irish Agreement gave the minority the security of an international accord to protect their position and offer them a path to a fair society.
“It was on the foundation of the Anglo Irish Agreement, that the Good Friday agreement and the peace process that led to it were built,” Mr Bruton said.
Mr Barry, who followed in his father Anthony’s footsteps to be elected Lord Mayor of Cork in 1970, was granted the freedom of Cork in 2010 by the then lord mayor and current European Affairs Minister, Dara Murphy. Describing the honour as ‘long overdue’, Mr Murphy said he wanted to recognise Mr Barry’s lifelong dedication to the service of his country and community, his business acumen and philanthropic endeavours.
Mr Barry will be laid to rest alongside his wife Margaret, who died in 2013, in St Michael’s cemetery after today’s funeral Mass.
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