Fitzgerald embarks on final journey

Hundreds of people gathered in the Church of the Sacred Heart in Donnybrook this afternoon to pay their final respects to former taoiseach Dr Garret Fitzgerald, described as a "outstanding leader of our time".

Hundreds of people gathered in the Church of the Sacred Heart in Donnybrook this afternoon to pay their final respects to former taoiseach Dr Garret Fitzgerald, described as a "outstanding leader of our time".

President Mary McAleese and Taoiseach Enda Kenny were among those who attended today's state funeral for Dr Fitzgerald.

Five former taoiseagh - Liam Cosgrave, Albert Reynolds, John Bruton, Bertie Ahern and Brian Cowen - were also among the crowd, along with former president Mary Robinson and former leader of the SDLP John Hume.

Chief celebrant was Father Enda McDonagh, a lifelong friend of Dr FitzGerald.

Fr McDonagh told those gathered that Dr Fitzgerald watched history unfolding in Ireland last week.

Prayers of the faithful were read by four of his grandchildren: Garret, Doireann, Aoife and Ciara as well as Mrs Robinson and Peter Barry, former deputy leader of Fine Gael.

His grandchildren brought some gifts to the altar, including a collage of family photographs, some flowers, an Aer Lingus timetable, a copy of his most recent book and some of his political writings.

Dr Fitzgerald passed away on Thursday, aged 85, following a short illness.

His remains lay in state at the Mansion House in Dublin yesterday prior to last evening's removal to the church.

Following the funeral ceremony his remains were brought under military escort to Shanganagh Cemetery, Shankill, where he was to be buried alongside his wife Joan, who died in 1999.

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