Tributes paid to former attorney general

 

TAOISEACH BRIAN Cowen and former taoiseach Bertie Ahern have paid tribute to former attorney general Rory Brady SC, who died yesterday following a long illness. He served as attorney general in the Fianna Fáil/PD government from 2002 to 2007.

Mr Cowen described him as “one of the finest and most able barristers of his time”, with “an incisive and sharp mind and a tremendous ability to deal with the most complex of legal issues”.

Mr Ahern said he was his “closest and most trusted colleague at the cabinet table. He was never anything less than brilliant. It was a true privilege to work alongside such a dedicated and capable person.

“As well as being an authority on all matters legal, Rory Brady was a supreme political strategist. He made a stunning contribution to government and to Ireland’s progress.

“In particular, his contribution to bringing peace to Northern Ireland was extraordinarily significant. He was a key adviser to me right through the entire peace process. I am deeply grateful for Rory’s instinctive understanding of so many complex issues on that long journey towards an Ireland at peace.”

The Fine Gael spokesman on children, Charlie Flanagan, said he served the State with distinction.

Mr Brady was born in Dublin’s Liberties into a Fianna Fáil family and was educated in Synge St Christian Brothers school, UCD and the King’s Inns. He was called to the Bar in 1979 and became a senior counsel in 1996. Before his appointment as attorney general he was chairman of the Bar Council.

As attorney general he took a case in the High Court to establish the rights of an Indonesian child adopted by an Irish man and his wife, and later returned to an orphanage. He obtained a declaration that Joseph Dowse, an Irish citizen, and his Azerbaijan-born wife, Lala, had failed in their duty to care and provide for their adopted son, Tristan, an order directing them to do so, and a number of associated orders relating to his accommodation, care, support and maintenance.

He later asked the Law Reform Commission to report on aspects of inter-country adoption law in the light of this case.

As AG, he took the unusual step of personally representing Ireland in several international courts in The Hague in cases concerning Sellafield. Those cases led to an enormous increase in co-operation between Ireland and the UK on important issues of nuclear safety.

He returned to the Bar in 2007 after five years as attorney general. He was also chairman of the Irish Takeover Panel. He is survived by his wife Siobhán and daughters Meadhbh and Aoife.