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John Bruton funeral: Irish leaders pay respects as former taoiseach is laid to rest | World News

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Ireland’s former taoiseach John Bruton has been laid to rest at a state funeral in his hometown of Dunboyne, County Meath.

Mr Bruton, who served as taoiseach from 1994 to 1997, died peacefully in hospital at the age of 76 on Tuesday.

His funeral was attended by politicians past and present, with current Taoiseach Leo Varadkar among those who arrived at Saints Peter and Paul’s Church on Saturday morning.

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Taoiseach Leo Varadkar arrives for the state funeral. Pic: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

Irish President Michael D Higgins was also present to pay his respects, as were Northern Ireland’s newly-installed first minister Michelle O’Neill and her deputy, Emma Little-Pengelly.

First Minister of Northern Ireland Michelle O'Neill and Deputy First Minister Emma Little-Pengelly were sworn in at Stormont last Saturday. Pic: Brian Lawless/PA Wire
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First Minister of Northern Ireland Michelle O’Neill and Deputy First Minister Emma Little-Pengelly were sworn in at Stormont last Saturday. Pic: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

Northern Ireland's new first minister and her deputy speaking to Sinn Fein president Mary Lou McDonald and former taoiseach Enda Kenny outside the church. Pic: Brian Lawless/PA Wire
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Northern Ireland’s new first minister and her deputy speaking to Sinn Fein president Mary Lou McDonald and former taoiseach Enda Kenny outside the church. Pic: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

Irish President Michael D. Higgins. Pic: Brian Lawless/PA Wire
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Irish President Michael D Higgins (centre). Pic: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

They joined Mr Bruton’s wife, Finola, his children – Matthew, Juliana, Emily and Mary-Elizabeth – his brother, former minister Richard Bruton, and his grandchildren at the funeral.

Other political figures in attendance included Bertie Ahern and Enda Kenny, who both once served as taoiseach, and Irish Labour Party leader Ivana Bacik.

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Former taoiseach Bertie Ahern (left) arriving alongside Jack Chambers, minister of state at the department of transport. Pic: Brian Lawless/PA Wire
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Former taoiseach Bertie Ahern (left) arriving alongside Jack Chambers, minister of state at the department of transport. Pic: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

Former taoiseach Enda Kenny (right) at the church. Pic: Brian Lawless/PA Wire
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Former taoiseach Enda Kenny (right) at the church. Pic: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

In the homily, Father Bruce Bradley described Mr Bruton as “an exceptionally good man”.

He said: “John was honest and honourable, patient and persevering, courageous and committed, ‘willing to lead even when it meant going against the grain’, as the Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has said, humble and unassuming, a man of integrity and truth.”

Irish Labour Party leader Ivana Bacik at the funeral. Pic: Brian Lawless/PA Wire
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Irish Labour Party leader Ivana Bacik at the funeral. Pic: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

After the service, Mr Bruton’s coffin – draped in the Irish flag – was carried out of the church to the burial.

Mr Bruton’s family was at his side when he died following a period of long illness.

John Bruton pictured in 1996. Pic: PA
Image:
John Bruton pictured in 1996. Pic: PA

John Bruton, the former taoiseach, in July 2022. Pic: PA
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John Bruton, the former taoiseach, in July 2022. Pic: PA

As taoiseach, he was instrumental in working with the then British prime minister Sir John Major to launch the Anglo-Irish Framework Document in 1995, which proposed new relations between Ireland, Northern Ireland and the UK.

Sir John led tributes to Mr Bruton following his death and labelled him a “brave and talented” leader who “contributed mightily to the early days of the peace process”.



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