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John Bruton's remains were received at St Peter and Paul's Church this evening. Julien Behal

Former Taoiseach John Bruton remembered as 'a great statesman' at removal mass in Co Meath

The 76-year-old died peacefully in the Mater Private Hospital in Dublin on Tuesday following a long illness.

FORMER TAOISEACH JOHN Bruton was described as “a visionary” and “a great statesman” at a removal mass in Co Meath this evening. 

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 Tuesday morning following a long illness. 

His remains were received at St Peter and Paul’s Church in Dunboyne, Co Meath at 7pm this evening.

Former minister Richard Bruton carried the coffin of his older brother into the church.

Social Protection Minister Heather Humphreys, Justice Minister Helen McEntee, Culture Minister Catherine Martin and her husband Francis Noel Duffy TD were among those attending the mass.

Children’s Minister Roderic O’Gorman, EU Commissioner Mairead McGuinness, and Minister of State for Sport Thomas Byrne also attended the service.

Fr Patrick O’Connor told those gathered that Mr Bruton was “a visionary” with “an innate sense of justice”.

“Everything he did was done with justice, equality and fairness,” he said. 

John Bruton removal 02 Richard Bruton carries the coffin of his late brother, former Taoiseach John Bruton, at his removal mass this evening. Julien Behal / Government Information Service Julien Behal / Government Information Service / Government Information Service

He described Mr Bruton as “one of the people who sowed the seeds for peace, which grew slowly, but eventually came to bloom”. 

“No matter what position John found himself, he gave it his all. As a TD, as a Minister, as Taoiseach. He was a great statesman.”

He also said that Mr Bruton was a Dunboyne man “who never lost touch with his roots”. He said that family “was the centre of John’s life”. 

A State funeral will be held for Mr Bruton at 11am tomorrow morning. He will then be buried in Rooske Cemetery in Dunboyne.

The funeral cortege is expected to arrive between approximately 1pm and 1.30pm tomorrow afternoon.

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.

With reporting from Press Association