Garret Fitzgerald is laid to rest

Former taoiseach Garret FitzGerald has been laid to rest in Dublin following a state funeral, held on Sunday.

FitzGerald, who was 85, died in a Dublin hospital last week following a short illness.

President Mary McAleese and Taoiseach Enda Kenny were among the hundreds gathered to pay their respects to Dr. Fitzgerald, who signed the Anglo-Irish Agreement with British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in 1985.

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The service was held at the Sacred Heart Church in Donnybrook, which was unable to accommodate all the mourners, hundreds of whom braved persistent downpours to watch the service outside on a large screen.

An estimated 20,000 people also paid their respects to Dr. Fitzgerald the day before as he lay in state at the Mansion House in Dublin.

Theologian Fr. Enda McDonagh, a long-time friend of Dr. Fitzgerald, told the congregation during the service that the deceased would be remembered by history.

"Politicians, some, and Irish voters, perhaps many, were notoriously suspicious of intellectuals and, in a different fashion, of do-gooders, both these in themselves honorable titles were used in a mocking, put-down way by Garret's critics.

"However, his commitment to loving and truthful public service took him way beyond these criticisms to the office of taoiseach, the achievement of the Anglo-Irish Agreement, that forerunner of the foundation of the Good Friday Agreement and that peace process whose culmination we have been celebrating in the very days of Garret's last agony and the final surrender of his historical life, devoted as it was to Irish citizens north and south, as well as to family and friends."

Although the ceremony was a state funeral, the service had a personal fee to it with Dr Fitzgerald's 10 grandchildren all playing a role in the Mass, four of whom read prayers of the faithful. After the Mass, Dr. Fitzgerald's tricolor-draped coffin was driven to a cemetery in South County Dublin and carried to the graveside by Irish army soldiers.