Garret FitzGerald dies, aged 85

The death has taken place in hospital of former taoiseach Dr Garret FitzGerald, it was announced this morning.

The death has taken place in hospital of former taoiseach Dr Garret FitzGerald, it was announced this morning.

Dr FitzGeraldwas 85 years old.

“The family of Dr Garret FitzGerald are sad to announce that he has passed away this morning after a short illness," the Fitzgerald family said in a statement.

The family paid tribute to staff at the Mater Private facility for the care he received in his final days.

They also say he was a much loved and adored father, grandfather and great-grandfather who will be sadly missed by his extended family.

Details of his funeral arrangements will be announced later.

He served as Taoiseach twice in the 1980s in the 17th and 19th governments. He led two coalitions from July 1981 to December 1982 and again from December 1982 to June 1987.

He was at the helm when the Anglo-Irish Agreement was struck with former British prime minister Margaret Thatcher in 1985.

He retired from politics in 1992, but remained active and known on the national stage - writing a column for The Irish Times, and lecturing widely at home and abroad on public affairs.

President Mary McAleese said she was saddened to learn of the death of Dr FitzGerald, lauding him as a "Renaissance man of our times".

Speaking on RTÉ radio, Taoiseach Enda Kenny paid tribute to Dr FitzGerald describing him as a "truly remarkable man who made a truly remarkable contribution to Irish politics".

“I would say his towering intellect, his enthusiasm for life and optimism will be missed by everyone," the Taoiseach said.

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin in a statement meanwhile said the former taoiseach "served the Irish people with great intelligence, decency and commitment in a lifetime devoted to public service".

Sinn Féin President and Louth TD Gerry Adams also extended his sympathy.

“On behalf of myself and the Sinn Féin party I wish to extend sympathy and condolences to the family and friends of Dr Garret FitzGerald at this time," Deputy Adams said.

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