I am very sad to learn of the death of former Taoiseach Albert Reynolds. I want to extend my sincere sympathies to his wife Kathleen, his children Miriam, Philip, Emer, Leonie, Abbie, Cathy and Andrea and to his extended family and many friends. Albert was a family man proud of his family’s achievements and I will remember him as a close personal friend to me and my own family.
I knew Albert to be loyal, to be supportive and to be generous. It was a great privilege for me to work with him and I will always be grateful for his trust and faith in me, particularly in appointing me to the cabinet for the first time in 1992.
Albert Reynolds was a statesman who had a simple objective, to end violence and to set in train a framework for inclusive and exclusively democratic politics across the entire island of Ireland.
He was the driving figure in bringing about the Downing Street Declaration, which laid firm foundations for peace to be built. The other great triumph of negotiation from Albert’s time as Taoiseach was the IRA ceasefire in 1994 which was closely followed by a Loyalist cessation. This changed the entire dynamic of our island and so much of this is down to Albert Reynolds perseverance. Time and again, he would ask “Who is afraid of peace?”
Albert Reynolds’s political bravery and his wisdom were the key ingredients in fostering a new dispensation of peace, tolerance and reconciliation, mutual respect and equality on this island. For that he will always have the enduring respect of the Irish people. Ar dheis Dé go raibh a ainm dhílis.