Former European Commissioner Peter Sutherland dies aged 71

Mr Sutherland died in Dublin this morning surrounded by his family

Former European Commissioner Peter Sutherland dies aged 71

File photo of Peter Sutherland who has died at the age of 71, 17-12-2015. Image: Sam Boal/RollingNews

Tributes are pouring in for the former Attorney General and European Commissioner Peter Sutherland who has died at the age of 71.

Mr Sutherland passed away at St James' Hospital in Dublin this morning surrounded by his family.

A leading figure in Irish public life, Mr Sutherland held a range of high level positions in business, law and politics and was chair of Goldman Sachs for 20 years.

Following his death, his family said he suffered a heart attack in 2016 and had been ill for some time.

Human rights

In a statement, the President Michael D. Higgins said Mr Sutherland had tirelessly campaigned for “global solutions to human trafficking and forced migration.”

“He became a passionate and influential voice for the rights of the 65 million people who have been forced to flee their homes and homelands,” he said.

"All of this came after a lifetime of contributions to public life at home and abroad. 

"A passionate European, throughout his career Peter Sutherland remained deeply committed to peaceful cooperation and integration in Europe, promoting greater awareness of the importance and possibilities of Irish engagement in European decision making. 

"His loss will be felt most acutely by his family and friends, and as President of Ireland I wish to express my deepest sympathies to them.”

Career

Born in Dublin in 1946, Mr Sutherland attended school at Gonzaga College in Ranelagh, before studying law at UCD.

A barrister by profession, he was appointed as Attorney General in June 1981. He served two spells in the role.

He later served as Ireland’s European commissioner in Brussels and was director general of the World Trade Organisation.

In 2006 he was appointed UN Special Representative on Migration by then-Secretary General Kofi Annan. He was later renewed in that position by Ban Ki-moon.

He is survived by his wife, children and ten grandchildren.