A 1964 essay, Seeking A National Purpose by Garret FitzGerald set out the former taoiseach’s political vision for the rest of his life.
What it and FitzGerald’s subsequent career lacked, says Vincent Browne in today’s Irish Times, was a commitment to end inequality.
“Garret had only a thin commitment to the ideal of equality, which perhaps is surprising because his personal dispositions would have suggested otherwise. But he was from privileged background – not in monetary terms but certainly in cultural ones.
Garret was not scandalised by the scale of inequality here and rarely exposed to it.
He believed it was politically impossible to radically redistribute wealth and income; he believed there could be only an incremental redistribution from aggregate increases in wealth and income.
He remained therefore content to live with evidence of radical inequality and was often dismissive of that evidence. And his contentment with radical inequality added considerably to the contentment of our political culture with radical inequality, such was his influence.