Garret "the Good"?

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Former Taoiseach Garret Fitzgerald's death was announced this morning. As is usual in such circumstances we are being subject to a load of old guff, very rarely in such instances are we treated to an honest assessment of a mans life instead we are expected to believe in the individauls perfection.  The great phrases you will hear for the next week will be that he was "a patriot who always put the national interest first", "an honest man, a fair man", "he did the state some service" etc. At least the last is true, Garret Fitzgerald was a thouroughly pro-state, pro-capitalist, pro-EU, pro-imperialist politician.  He never wavered in his support for the capitalist order.

When Garret Fitzgerald was Foreign Affairs minister in the 1973 Fine Gael and Labour coalition that government let the Gardai off the leash leading to one of the most brutal phases of Garda corruption and torture in the state's history. The notorious Heavy Gang roamed the country torturing and forcing "confessions" from suspects. Particularly targetting republicans they gained a ferocious reputation.

Garret Fitzgerald admits he was aware of this and remained in government and loyal to the state throughout the period. The heavy gang have never been held to account, indeed many Fine Gael politicians often boast of its "success".

During Garret's own period in office as Taoiseach, again with Labour, his Attorney General froze the accounts in Ireland holding the monies of the National Union of Mineworkers who at the time were engaged in a life and death struggle with Thatcher's brutal regime in Britain.

Garret also had a questionable relationship with the banks, you'll hear little of this in the coming biographies.

From wikipedia
"In early 1999 it was revealed that some six years earlier, AIB and Ansbacher Banks wrote off debts of almost IR£200,000 owed by FitzGerald following the collapse of the aircraft leasing company, Guinness Peat Aviation, in which he was a shareholder. Chairman of AIB at the time, Peter Sutherland, was also a former director of GPA and had served as Attorney General under FitzGerald, prior to FitzGerald appointing him as Ireland's member of the European Commission."

This is just a flavour there is much more that could be written but this sample should provide an antidote to the festival of waffle you are going to be subjected to this week.

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