John Bruton Former Taoiseach of Ireland and EU Ambassador to Washington is an outspoken and engaging voice on the issues facing the Irish economic, business and political sectors. Now chairman of IFSC Ireland, he has been representing Ireland both home and abroad during a difficult period for the country’s reputation.
Bruton was elected Taoiseach (Prime Minister) of Ireland in December 1994. His administration was a three party Coalition Government comprising Fine Gael, the Labour Party, and Democratic Left and he held that office until 1997. As Taoiseach, he was responsible for the introduction of the new Corporate Tax Policy which helped Ireland become one of the fastest growing economies in the world. In the year before he took office (1993) the Irish economy grew by 2.7% and during his time as Taoiseach the Irish economy grew at an annual average rate of 8.7%, peaking at 11.1% in 1997. He also was deeply involved in the Irish peace process. He helped develop the Strategic Management Initiative (SMI) for public sector reform in Ireland.
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. Before becoming Ambassador he also 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.
Since 2001 he has spoken on world, European and Irish economic developments to influential business and political audiences in New Zealand, South Africa, Chile, Canada, Argentina, Mexico, Peru, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ukraine, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates and numerous EU Member States. His role in Washington as E.U. Ambassador saw him meet with the President and former Presidents of the United States, governors, mayors, business leaders and students in over 20 US states to explain that the expanding European Union is good for the US economy and good for American jobs. He had one-to-one meetings with over 250 Members of Congress to explain major EU developments and discuss the importance of the EU-US relationship in matters of trade, counterterrorism, public health, energy, the environment and the promotion of peace, democracy and human rights around the world. Ambassador Bruton completed his term in Washington on October 31, 2009.
John Bruton was born in 1947 and 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 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 holds Honorary Degrees from Memorial University of Newfoundland and the National University of Ireland. He is married to Finola Bruton and has 4 adult children.