It was with great sadness this morning that I learned of the death of my former colleague and party leader Albert Reynolds.
It is right that we should remember a man who made an incredible contribution to progress in our country.
He brought an entrepreneurial spirit to the fore in Government, transforming the telecommunications industry in this country and developing the concept of county enterprise boards, enabling community based entrepreneurship and creating an infrastructure that survives to this day.
He built many strong relationships with leaders in the European Union and used these to ensure real influence for Ireland, which culminated in him securing an unprecedented allocation of structural funds for the country.
His most lasting legacy will of course be his immense contribution to the peace process, where his strength of character and single minded determination delivered the early breakthroughs which laid the foundations for the decades of progress that followed.
21 years on, the Downing Street Declaration remains a striking and historic achievement for constitutional nationalism.
When Albert Reynolds left the Office of Taoiseach, he left a country that was embracing peace and a modernised economy on the verge of significant growth. Through his personal friendship with John Major, he began the transformation of the relationship between this country and Britain. Through his efforts in public life, he changed this country for the better. There can be no greater tribute for an elected representative.
Through all this work his great support and comfort always came from Kathleen. My sympathy and the sympathy of the entire Fianna Fáil organisation is with her and the entire family this morning.