John Bruton

Bruton, John (brōˈtən) [key], 1947–, Irish politician, b. Dublin. A lawyer and farm owner, he is a member of the centrist Fine Gael party. Bruton was first elected to the Irish parliament in 1969 and during the 1970s served as a junior minister. In Fine Gael cabinets during the 1980s, he was minister for industry, trade, commerce, and tourism (1982–83) and finance minister (1981–82; 1986–87). He became party leader in 1990 and was subsequently prime minister (1994–97), heading a three-party left-right coalition. As prime minister, Bruton promoted peace in Northern Ireland. Firmly opposed to the IRA, he suggested that only a majority vote by Ulster could lead to its incorporation into Ireland. In 1995, Bruton successfully campaigned for constitutional changes allowing divorce in the Irish Republic. He lost his party leadership post in 2001.

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