Peter Sutherland was a ‘responsible globalist’, Paschal Donohoe says

Minister says biography of late AG and WTO head is the story of ‘a life and an idea’

Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe (right) has launched The Globalist, a biography of Peter Sutherland by John Walsh (left).  Photograph Nick Bradshaw

Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe (right) has launched The Globalist, a biography of Peter Sutherland by John Walsh (left). Photograph Nick Bradshaw

 

Peter Sutherland led a life of “really extraordinary achievement”, Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe said on Wednesday night, adding that he could be described as “responsible globalist”.

Mr Donohoe was speaking at the launch of The Globalist, the first biography of Sutherland by journalist John Walsh.

“It’s the story of a life and the story of an idea,” Mr Donohoe told an audience at Hodges Figgis bookshop in Dublin, before listing Mr Sutherland’s achievements and his devotion to the ideal of globalisation.

Mr Sutherland, a former Fine Gael attorney general, went on to become European Commissioner, head of the World Trade Organisation, chairman of AIB, Goldman Sachs and BP and latterly UN special representative for migration. Mr Walsh’s book calls him “possibly the most influential Irish person ever”. He died in 2018 aged 71.

Mr Donohoe said the book was “an unblinkered evaluation of what the whole idea of globalisation is all about, because the latter part of the life and the most recent part of the idea is about the more challenging consequences of globalisation.”

“This is a proper biography,” he said, “and because it is a proper biography the conclusions that it reaches are all the more legitimate and all the more valuable.”

The book, Mr Donohoe added, “does Peter the greatest justice possible.”