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John Bruton     Print Email

The Honorable John Bruton

John Bruton is the former Prime Minister of the Republic of Ireland and the former European Union Ambassador to the United States.

Ambassador Bruton served as Prime Minister (Taoiseach) of Ireland from 1994-1997, and during his tenure, the Irish economy "Celtic Tiger" became one of the fastest growing economies in the world. He was also deeply involved in the Northern Irish Peace Process leading to the 1998 Good Friday Agreement, under whose terms a conflict of allegiances dating back to the seventeenth century was resolved.

While Prime Minister, Ambassador Bruton presided over a successful Irish EU Presidency in 1996 and helped finalize the Stability and Growth Pact, which governs the management of the single European currency, the Euro.   He addressed a joint session of the US Congress on September 11, 1996, as only the 30th head of state or government of an EU country to do so since 1945.

Before being appointed Head of the Delegation of the European Commission and Ambassador to the United States in 2004, Ambassador Bruton served as a leading member of the Convention that drafted the proposed European Constitution, which was signed in Rome on October 29, 2004. He strongly supported proposals to give the general public a more direct say in the choice of EU leadership by allowing the public of the 27 EU Member States directly to elect the President of the European Commission.

From 1999 until his appointment as Ambassador, he was one of ten Vice Presidents of the European People’s Party, which brings together the leaderships of 74 European political parties, many of whom are in Government in their countries.

Ambassador Bruton was first elected to the Irish Parliament ("Dáil Éireann") in 1969 at the age of 22 as a member of the Fine Gael Party, becoming Party Leader in 1990 and leading it into government in 1994. He previously served as Ireland’s Minister for Finance (1981-1982 and 1986-1987); Minister for Industry & Energy (1982-1983); Minister for Trade, Commerce & Tourism (1983-1986); and was Parliamentary Secretary (Junior Minister) from 1973-1977. He has also been opposition spokesman on Agriculture and on Education.

He is a member of the board of Ingersoll Rand plc, Smart Invest, and of the Irish Diaspora Loan Origination Fund. He is also a member of the board of the Centre for European Policy Studies. He is a Distinguished Fellow at the Centre for Transatlantic Relations in Washington, DC, and a visiting fellow at the European Institute in the London School of Economics.

Ambassador Bruton graduated from University College Dublin with a Bachelor of Arts degree in economics and politics in 1968 before studying to become a barrister. He was called to the Bar of Ireland in 1972. He holds Honorary Degrees from Memorial University of Newfoundland and the National University of Ireland.