John Bruton, former Irish Prime Minister and EU ambassador to US, dies at 76

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Former Irish Prime Minister John Bruton, who helped lay the foundations for Northern Ireland’s 1998 peace deal and later served as the European Union’s ambassador to Washington, died on Tuesday following a long illness, his family said.

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Bruton, 76, served as prime minister as the head of the center-right Fine Gael party from 1994 to 1997, and played an important role in negotiations with Britain and political groups in Northern Ireland. The work helped lead to the 1998 Good Friday Agreement, signed by his successor Bertie Ahern.

John Bruton at the Federal Reserve Bank on New York

John Bruton, former Irish Prime Minister who later served as the European Union’s ambassador to Washington, is seen here at the Global Finance conference at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York in New York on April 17, 2007. Bruton passed away at 76. (Daniel Barry/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Bruton also made the decision to cut Ireland’s corporate tax rate to one of the lowest in Europe, helping fuel the Celtic Tiger economic revolution of the late 1990s.

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Bruton “died peacefully in the Mater Private Hospital in Dublin, surrounded by his loving family, early this morning following a long illness,” his family said in a statement.

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