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The book of condolences for former Taoiseach John Bruton in the Mansion House, Dublin Sam Boal/
John Bruton

State funeral of former Taoiseach John Bruton to take place in Co Meath on Saturday

The 76-year-old Fine Gael politician died peacefully in the early hours of yesterday.


THE STATE FUNERAL OF former Taoiseach John Bruton will take place on Saturday. 

The 76-year-old Fine Gael politician died peacefully in the Mater Private Hospital in Dublin, surrounded by his family, in the early hours of yesterday following a long illness. 

Mr Bruton’s remains will be removed to St Peter and Paul’s Church in Dunboyne, Co Meath on Friday evening, arriving at 7pm for a prayer service.

His funeral Mass will take place at 11am on Saturday.

He will then be buried in Rooske Cemetery in Dunboyne and the funeral cortege is expected to arrive between approximately 1 and 1.30pm. 

Flags are being flown at half-mast on all government buildings until after the funeral and an online Book of Condolence is available on Department of Taoiseach website.

Political career

Born in Dunboyne, Co Meath, Mr Bruton graduated from UCD with a degree in economics and politics in 1968 before studying to become a barrister. He was called to the Bar in 1972. 

John Bruton led Fine Gael from 1990 until 2001, and served as Taoiseach between December 1994 and June 1997 as head of the ‘rainbow coalition’ alongside Labour and Democratic Left. 

He had first been elected to the Dáil at the age of just 22 in 1969. He rose steadily through the ranks of Fine Gael, serving two terms as Minister for Finance in the 1980s, as well as Minister for Industry and Minister for Trade. 

He later served as the EU’s ambassador to the US between 2004 and 2009.

Mr Bruton is survived by his wife Finola, son Matthew and daughters Juliana, Emily and Mary-Elizabeth; as well as his brother Richard, his sister Mary, and his extended family. 

A Book of Condolence was opened for Mr Bruton in the Mansion House in Dublin earlier today. 

‘Personal kindness’

Tributes have poured in since the news of his death was announced yesterday.

Regular Dáil business was postponed this afternoon to all for expressions of sympathy for Mr Bruton to be heard. 

Speaking in the Dáil, Ceann Comháirle Seán Ó Fearghaíl said there are “countless stories” of Mr Bruton’s “personal kindness towards colleagues and opponents alike”. 

“His loud, booming laugh was a welcome part of our public events long after he stepped down from the Oireachtas,” Ó Fearghaíl said. 

“He was a man of a sincere, personal faith. One which he did not seek to impose on others and which will have been a great comfort to him during his final illness,” he said. 

President Michael D Higgins said in a statement yesterday that it was a “privilege” to serve as a member of Dáil Éireann and of Cabinet with Mr Bruton. 

He said Mr Bruton was a “deeply committed politician”, who demonstrated a life-long interest and engagement in public affairs and public service both in Ireland and internationally.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has paid tribute to the former leader, saying Mr Bruton was one of the reasons he became involved in politics and joined Fine Gael. 

Varadkar said he last spoke to him before Christmas, adding that he spoke with his wife Finola and brother Richard Bruton TD this morning to pass on his condolences. 

“I believe John Bruton possessed real dignity and imbued compassion and patriotism.  The whole Fine Gael family mourns his loss, and he will always be remembered for his service to our Party and to the Irish State,” the Taoiseach said.