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The Meaning Of Life with Gay Byrne

Peter Sutherland

Gay Byrne with

Peter Sutherland

Peter Sutherland, was born and raised in the leafy suburbs of south Dublin, went to school in Gonzaga College in the 1950s and still sets great store by the liberal education and the moral code he learned from his Jesuit teachers. Passionate about rugby, at age 8, he nominated himself as captain of the school rugby team and continued in leadership roles through much of his life: youngest ever Irish Attorney General, youngest EU Commissioner, Chairman of the GATT negotiations, DG of the World Trade organisation, Chairman of BP and Goldman Sachs, financial adviser to the Pope and special adviser to the UN on Migration.

Sutherland graduated with a Law degree from UCD and at age 24 got his big break at the Bar: he successfully defended Capt Kelly in the controversial arms trial in 1970. An active Fine Gael party member, he became Ireland's youngest ever Attorney General and served 2 terms under Garrett Fitzgerald during a controversial period. He also became Europe's youngest EU Commissioner when he took up the Competition and Social Affairs & Education portfolios in 1984. He continues to be a stalwart advocate for European union, both economically and politically. He's been called "the father of globalisation" for his part in the foundation of The World Trade Organisation and he was also its first Director General.

Sutherland went on to have a stellar business career too and he's an ex- chairman of AIB, British Petroleum and Goldman Sachs International - where in 1999, he was in the right place at the right time to become a multi-millionaire, when the company was floated on the stock market at that time.

Peter considers himself very lucky to have married Maruja, a Spanish beauty, he met at a dance while still a struggling young barrister. Although work frequently took him far from home, Peter is very much a family man with three grown children; He recently had to battle cancer when his daughter noticed a growth in his neck, while the family were on holidays together.

Sutherland remains a practicing Roman Catholic; in 2005 he was invited to become a Consultor for the Administration of the Patrimony - a financial advisory board for the Holy See; he was also given a papal knighthood in 2008; Peter attends Mass weekly and still recites the prayers he learned while at school in Ranelagh. As UN Special Representative for Migration since 2006, Peter argues that "we have a moral, political, social and economic obligation" to look after refugees.

 

 

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