James Dooge to be laid to rest today


THE FUNERAL of former minister for foreign affairs James Dooge will be held this morning in Dublin.

The 88-year-old died suddenly at his home in Monkstown on Friday.

He is survived by four children, 10 grandchildren and one great grandson.

Following a private wake at his home, funeral Mass for Prof Dooge will be held at St John the Baptist Church, Blackrock at 11am this morning.

He will be buried at Deans Grange Cemetery.

Both the Taoiseach Brian Cowen and President Mary McAleese will be represented at the ceremony by their aides-de-camp, and politicians from all parties are expected to attend.

Prof Dooge was a leading member of the Seanad for almost 30 years and was the last Senator to be appointed to the cabinet.

He was first elected to political office in 1948 at the age of 26 when he became a member of Dublin County Council for Fine Gael.

He joined the Seanad for the first time in 1961, and continued to serve in the Upper House until 1987.

He was cathaoirleach of the Seanad from 1973 to 1977 during the Fine Gael-Labour coalition led by Liam Cosgrave.

Prof Dooge was appointed minister for foreign affairs by the party’s then leader Dr Garret FitzGerald in 1981 as part of the Fine Gael-Labour Party coalition government.

His appointment was relatively short-lived, because the government lasted only 18 months.

During the Irish presidency of what became the European Union (EU) in 1984, Prof Dooge chaired what became known as the Dooge committee.

The committee drew up a report to the European Council on the framework for institutional reforms, a crucial step on the road towards agreement on the Single European Act and subsequently the EU.

Prof Dooge returned to academic life after retiring from politics and was elected president of the Royal Irish Academy.

Fine Gael foreign affairs spokesman Sean Barrett paid tribute to Prof Dooge at the weekend. “James Dooge carried out his duties in an exemplary manner,” he said.

“As minister for foreign affairs, he worked from a global perspective and avoided narrow parochial concerns. He was also a true European, playing a crucial role in the process which led to the creation of the European Union.” He would be sorely missed, he said.