Opening speech of the Inaugural Garret FitzGerald Summer School

Today we honour a great leader, a visionary and a voice of strength and reason.

In Ireland, before most of you in this room were born, there were challenges seen and ignored, generations of our best and our brightest leaving not by choice but by the misfortune of the year of their birth and the state of our country.

We face some similar challenges today and it is a trial for this generation to overcome.

So why does this matter? What has this to do with why we are here?

All of us in Young Fine Gael sit in this room today because of someone who took the time to think about a future Ireland, about the generations to come and how they would be able to give voice to their thoughts, their hopes.

In 1977, Garret Fitzgerald became Fine Gael leader and wanted to reinvigorate the party with fresh ideas. With this in mind, he established Young Fine Gael, giving the concerns of the younger generation legitimacy alongside the great events of the day. And he showed that he respected the opinion of younger people by granting this organisation autonomy in its policy.

This is an opportunity and a tradition that has continued to this day.

There are many people involved in politics who say...

There are some people who say what they mean & and then occasionally, generationally there are those seen to bring meaning to life to walk the path they prescribe. Those few who speak with gusto when the time for serious voices arises.

Presentation to the FitzGerald Family

Garret was one in a generation probably one amongst a nation and is most certainly missed.

Today, we continue to reflect our generations concerns with the expectation doing this in an articulate and deliberative manner. In doing we hope to commemorate and honour a leader, a Taoiseach, an intellectual, an inspiration and a giant in Irish political history.

Garret created an avenue for young people to participate in Irish politics and it is in that spirit that we begin our summer school; as a means of discussing, arguing convincing and developing a view of what Ireland can be tomorrow. To maintain an expectation for those who come after us and to build the voice of young people throughout Ireland. It is only fitting that he should be commemorated annually by us in this way.

This summer school is dedicated to the late great Dr. Garret FitzGerald.

Patrick Molly, YFG President.

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