“Liam Cosgrave’s most striking quality was his unshakeable conviction, whether to his deep Catholic faith, or to preserving the democratic integrity and security of the State.
“He was a man of great loyalty, old fashioned courtesy, personal warmth and always had a great sense of humour.
“I had the honour to serve under his leadership and to learn from him. He was no ideologue but was rooted in common sense. He had a genuine rapport with people and was always conscious of the impact of policy on people’s everyday lives.
“His closeness to people and willingness to work for them was reflected in the fact that he invariably headed the poll in his beloved Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown constituency.
“He led one of the best Governments the country has seen and did so with a quiet dignity and a steely resistance to those who would undermine the State. He was conscious at all times of the example of his father W.T Cosgrave and sought to emulate his qualities of probity and courage.
“The Fine Gael party owes him a great debt. He became a TD at the bleakest time in the party’s history when many forecast its demise.
“His persistence and belief saw him steer the party back to recovery and Government.
“He was kind and encouraging to me as a young TD, and always available for advice – but only when it was wanted. One of my most touching memories was the phone call from him on the night of my election as Taoiseach in 2011: “You have made an old man very happy,” he said to me. It was a very proud moment for me.
“To his family, to Mary who gave him such care and devotion, to Liam and Ciaran and his wider family, my sincere sympathy.”