Tributes paid to “peacemaker” Albert Reynolds

Albert Reynolds died at the age of 81 after a long battle with Alzheimer’s

Tributes have been paid to former Taoiseach, Albert Reynolds who has died this morning at the age of 81 after a long battle with Alzheimer’s disease.

The former Fianna Fáil leader was a Cabinet Minister and Dáil Deputy for Longford/Westmeath, and Bishop Francis Duffy of Ardagh & Clonmacnois said, “Albert Reynolds will be remembered locally as a committed and sensitive politician who made a real difference to the lives of his constituents in our community and economy”.

The bishop said nationally and internationally, Mr Reynolds will be remembered as a major player in bringing peace to this island. “This achievement was embodied in the Downing Street Declaration of December 1993, which paved the way for the first IRA ceasefire of 31 August 1994. This success is a shining example of commitment to the common good and dedication to the long sought and precious goal of securing peace in Ireland,” he said.

Albert Reynolds was a former parishioner of Bishop Kevin Doran, when he was parish priest in Donnybrook, and the bishop paid tribute to him for his "courage and initiative and, above all, his openness to dialogue" and his "refusal to accept that there was no alternative to violence in Northern Ireland".

Peace process

Although Albert Reynolds served for just under three years as Taoiseach from 1992 – one of the shortest terms on record, he made a lasting impact on Irish political history, playing an integral role in the North’s Peace Process.

President Michael D Higgins said Mr Reynolds was committed to serving the people of Ireland “with all of his energy”.“I recall his great courtesy and relaxed manner in all our dealings on various issues. He was also a successful businessman and continually used his business contacts in his work on Northern Ireland,” he said.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny said Mr Reynolds “made an important contribution to the development of the peace process which eventually lead to the Good Friday Agreement” and British Prime Minister David Cameron said: "I'm sad to hear of the death of Albert Reynolds. His partnership with Sir John Major led to the crucial Downing Street Declaration in 1993".