Flags lowered across State buildings for Liam Cosgrave

President Higgins unable to attend funeral of former taoiseach due to State visit to Australia

Flags are being lowered across all State buildings today as a mark of respect following the death former taoiseach Liam Cosgrave. Photograph: Alan Betson

Flags are being lowered across all State buildings today as a mark of respect following the death former taoiseach Liam Cosgrave. Photograph: Alan Betson

 

Flags are being lowered across all State buildings today as a mark of respect following the death former taoiseach Liam Cosgrave yesterday aged 97.

Mr Cosgrave’s family has been offered a State funeral but a date has not yet been announced.

However President Michael D Higgins will be unable to attend as he yesterday left the on a State visit to Australia. The president will be represented at the funeral by his Aide de Camp , his spokesman said.

President Higgins said he had learned with great sadness of the death of Mr Cosgrave, who was not only a former taoiseach, minister and party leader but a valuable member of the Council of State.

“Liam Cosgrave will be remembered not only as an effective cabinet minister but as a taoiseach with the capacity to win and secure the stability of a multi-party coalition,” Mr Higgins said.

Mr Higgins left Dublin yesterday for the start of a 24-day visit to Australia and New Zealand marking the seventh and eighth State visits of his presidency.

Mr Cosgrave is survived by his three children, Mary, Liam and Ciaran.

He led the Fine Gael-Labour coalition from 1973 and 1977, ending a 16-year long domination of Irish politics by Fianna Fáil.

He was a son of WT Cosgrave who led the Irish State during the first decade of independence from 1922 until 1932.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said he was deeply saddened to learn of Mr Cosgrave’s death. “Liam Cosgrave was someone who devoted his life to public service; a grateful country thanks and honours him for that and for always putting the nation first.”

The Taoiseach said that throughout his life Mr Cosgrave had worked to protect and defend the democratic institutions of the State, and showed great courage and determination in doing so.