I am deeply saddened to learn today of the passing of Garret FitzGerald.

Garret FitzGerald has made an enormous contribution to Irish politics and to our wider society.

He has served the Irish people with great intelligence, decency and commitment in a lifetime devoted to public service.

He was a hard-working politician of compassion and ability.

He was a prolific journalist of insight and understanding.

He was a brilliant academic of versatility and knowledge.

Garret FitzGerald served for two terms as Taoiseach in the 1980s during difficult economic days.

He started his career in politics in Seanad Éireann in 1965 and he was a TD for Dublin South East from 1969-1992.

As Taoiseach and prior to that Minister for Foreign Affairs, Garret FitzGerald was a strong advocate of peace in Northern Ireland.

He was an implacable opponent of those who espoused violence as a means to a lasting political solution on this island and he worked sincerely towards building an Ireland free of conflict.

Garret was also a strong supporter of the European Union and he was passionate about the benefits the European Union could bring to this country.

Even in recent years, though he had long stepped out of the arena of party politics, Garret took to the campaign trail with vigour and determination to help ensure the passing of EU referenda.

Though my party did not necessarily agree with Garret on every political issue, I greatly admired his integrity, his abilities and his unfailing politeness and courtesy.

He was a person who cared deeply about Ireland and he has given distinguished and patriotic service to our people.

Ní bheidh a leithéid ann arís.

I want to extend my sympathies and those of the Fianna Fáil Party to Garret’s family and friends.

Ar dheis de go raibh a anam.