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Last Updated: Friday, 16 June 2006, 17:07 GMT 18:07 UK
Thousands mourn ex-Irish premier
The remains of ex-Irish leader Charles Haughey are carried out

Thousands of people have attended the funeral of former Irish leader Charles Haughey in Dublin.

Requiem Mass was said at the Church of Our Lady of Consolation, Donnycarney. President Mary McAleese and Taoiseach Bertie Ahern were among the mourners.

Mr Haughey died at home on Tuesday at the age of 80 after a long illness.

His younger brother, Fr Eoghan Haughey, delivered the homily at the service and said that his brother had "great gifts and talents".

He said that his brother "relished ministerial office, not for itself, but for the opportunities it offered to get things done".

"He worked on a large canvas in broad imaginative strokes," he said, adding that the Northern Ireland peace process was always "high on his political agenda".

Among the politicians in attendance were Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams and former SDLP leader John Hume, whose talks together were supported by the former taoiseach.

Charles Haughey
Charles Haughey died following a long illness

The British government was represented by ambassador to Ireland Stuart Eldon.

Thousands lined the route to St Fintan's cemetery where Mr Haughey's remains were interred.

It was the biggest funeral in Ireland in recent years.

Mr Haughey was buried with full military honours and the funeral ceremonies were carried live on Irish television and radio.

Giving the graveside oration, Taoiseach Bertie Ahern said: "He was a legend and a man.

"We know him as a human being with all that implies. We, each of us, also live every day, with all that he achieved for Ireland.

"His life was an extraordinary journey."

He added: "For myself, I speak of Charles Haughey as a friend, a colleague, a political leader of peerless acumen and commanding talent.

"Charles Haughey brought to the office of Taoiseach a wide array of talents and skills, perhaps unmatched in the modern era."

On Thursday, a hearse carrying Mr Haughey's remains was given a motorcycle escort from the Haughey family home in Kinsealy, north Dublin, to the church where his body lay in state in the Mortuary Chapel.

Mourners filed past during the afternoon to pay their respects to the former taoiseach.

Premier for three separate terms between 1979 and 1992, he was widely considered to be the most controversial Irish politician of his generation.

A son-in-law of former taoiseach Sean Lemass, Mr Haughey first hit the headlines in 1970 when he was dismissed from the cabinet over allegations that he attempted to import arms for the Provisional IRA.

He was later cleared of the charge in court.

He had been suffering from prostate cancer and associated complications for a number of years.

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