John Bruton

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Bruton, John

(bro͞o`tən), 1947–, Irish politician, b. Dublin. A lawyer and farm owner, he is a member of the centrist Fine GaelFine Gael
, Irish political party. Formed in 1933, it was the successor of the party founded by William Cosgrave that held power from the creation of the Irish Free State in 1922 until ousted by the republican Fianna Fáil in 1932.
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 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.