Former attorney general and former European commissioner Peter Sutherland has died at the age of 71.
Sutherland's career spanned the law, government and business. He was previously chairman of Goldman Sachs International, chairman of British Petroleum and most recently the United Nations special representative for international migration.
He also served as director general of the World Trade Organisation and chairman of the London School of Economics.
In 2015, he retired from business to concentrate on his UN work, and he also served as a financial advisor to the Vatican.
In a statement, the Sutherland family said he passed away on Sunday morning in St James’s Hospital in Dublin after a long illness.
His family said he suffered a cardiac arrest in London on September 11, 2016.
“He was substantially impacted by this and was in hospitals in London and Dublin since then. Despite great efforts by his medical staff and his own indomitable spirit, he succumbed to an infection,” the family said.
“We were also so proud of his patriotism whether manifested through supporting his beloved Irish rugby team, his support of education at Gonzaga, UCD, Trinity or elsewhere, his formal and informal service to Irish governments of all hues and his work with the Ireland Fund of Great Britain which he was proud to chair and support.
“Others noticed his success in public life and his material success from business. We loved Papa because he was devoted to us and we to him.”
Sutherland is survived by his wife Maruja (née Cabria Valcarcel) and his children Shane, Natalia and Ian, 10 grandchildren, and his wider family and friends.
Tributes paid to Peter Sutherland
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar described Sutherland as “a statesman in every sense of the word; an Irishman, a committed European and a proud internationalist”.
Varadkar highlighted in particular Sutherland’s role in creating the Erasmus exchange programme, which allows European students to study in other EU countries, and his work on the Open Skies policy, which helped make low cost air travel across the continent possible.
Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin paid tribute to Sutherland’s dedication to public service in Ireland and elsewhere, saying he had made an “outstanding and distinguished contribution to public life”.