Remembering Peter Sutherland

Sir, – Fintan O'Toole's article "Trump and Brexit are products of Sutherland's success" (Opinion & Analysis, Janaury 9th) was a distasteful portrayal of an Irish statesman who devoted so much to public service, published only two days after his death.

To say that the election of Donald Trump and the vote for Brexit are a product of Mr Sutherland’s work is a ridiculous assertion.

Mr Sutherland dedicated so much to global trade because he believed this was the right thing to do. Just because Mr Trump and Brexit stand for the opposite does not mean that Mr Sutherland was automatically the orchestrator of the democratic choices of the American and British people.

Peter Sutherland believed in the work of international organisations, he believed in open borders and he believed that instead of protectionism, open trade between countries could reduce poverty. Free trade has lifted more people out of poverty than any other public policy measure in the last 50 years. Blaming Mr Sutherland for mistakes that have been made in relation to tax systems, inequality interventions or simply poor domestic policies is the height of fake news.


Launching an ideological attack on the back of someone’s death is something that maybe Fintan O’Toole might just reflect on. Unlike others who constantly throw stones, Peter Sutherland served in public office and put himself before the Irish people in a democratic election. – Yours, etc,


Fine Gael,

Dublin Constituency,


Dublin 4.

Sir, – I have just read, with a certain disappointment, Fintan O’Toole’s article criticising elements of Peter Sutherland’s legacy. While his views may have some merit, it is a pity that your columnist could not have waited a respectful period before penning this particular article. – Yours, etc,



Co Dublin.

Sir, – John Bruton claims that Peter Sutherland’s championing of migration arose from his “belief in the dignity of each person” (“Sutherland was driven to succeed in everything he did”, Opinion & Analysis, January 8th).

However, when Mr Sutherland appeared before a House of Lords global migration sub-committee in 2012, he stated that migration flows into Europe were “crucial for economic growth”. He argued that “the European Union, in my view, should be doing its best to undermine” the “sense of homogeneity and difference” that binds states in order to advance multiculturalism.

Mr Sutherland lived his life ensconced in a world of privilege and gated communities. He never had to live with the negative consequences of uncontrolled migration. – Yours, etc,



Dublin 13.

Sir, – We say goodbye to a giant on both the local and international scene with great regret. Peter Sutherland advanced the recognition of Ireland on the world stage both through his diplomatic skills in his time in Brussels and his subsequent stellar career in international commerce.

To me and to all his friends, despite his fame, he will always be known as plain Suds.

May he rest in peace. – Yours, etc,



Co Wicklow.