Warm tributes by both friends and foes alike have been paid to former Fine Gael leader and Taoiseach Liam Cosgrave, who passed to his eternal reward last week at the age of 97, having served the nation well as TD, minister, Taoiseach and elder statesman in a life well lived.
The recurring theme in the tributes by politicians and the public highlighted his honesty, integrity and principle in putting the country first throughout his long political life and public service.
At times this led to conflict within his own party on a number of occasions, notably voting against his own government against the contraceptives bill.
Local longtime Fine Gael activist and Michael Collins historian Noel Scannell, Kilworth who attended the funeral in Dublin last Saturday, told The Avondhu of his and local Fine Gael members' sadness at the death of their former leader.
Liam Cosgrave was greatly admired by so many within the organisation for his major contribution to party and to the Republic of Ireland through difficult times in the 1970s, especially during his term as Taoiseach 1973 – 1977.
"Having become a member of FG in the early 70s, I was greatly impressed with the leadership of Liam Cosgrave, whom I had the pleasure of meeting on a number of occasions, most notably during the Cork North East by-election in 1974. On that occasion, he gave a fine speech in Mallow in support of party candidate Michael Broderick. It took great courage for Liam to vote against his own government but he was always a man of principle without pretentions and did the right thing, as he saw it. Another abiding memory for which I admire him was not going down the road of auction politics in the 1977 general election", Noel said.
"On his retirement from active politics, Liam conducted himself with great dignity and was a wonderful elder statesman, attending many State ceremonies as former Taoiseach over the years, including the 1916 ceremonies last year, but not seeking the limelight in any way. This humility was also reflected in his funeral Mass and burial, conducted simply and fittingly in keeping with his wishes. To my way of thinking, this further enhanced the very positive Cosgrave legacy, epitomised by Liam and his much-admired father William T. Sincere sympathy is extended to his extended family and friends on their loss of a great family man”, Noel concluded.
Ar dheis De go raibh a anam dilis.