Sunday 21 December 2014

Tributes to ex-taoiseach Reynolds

Published 22/08/2014 | 15:11

A book of condolence in memory of former taoiseach Albert Reynolds opens at his old Fianna Fail party headquarters in Dublin
A book of condolence in memory of former taoiseach Albert Reynolds opens at his old Fianna Fail party headquarters in Dublin

Books of condolence have been opened in several locations around the country in memory of the late former taoiseach Albert Reynolds.

As well as in his former constituency Longford, people gathered to sign messages of sympathy in books at Dublin's GPO, Government Buildings and City Hall.

There were also sympathisers paying their respects to the ex-premier at Leinster House, Mansion House and Fianna Fail's headquarters on Lower Mount Street in the capital.

As final preparations were made for his State funeral on Monday, the Irish Tricolor flew at half mast over Government Buildings.

The businessman, showband promoter and politician was yesterday remembered as a courageous peacemaker after he died, aged 81, following a long illness.

His body will lie in repose in the Oak Room of the Mansion House, the Lord Mayor of Dublin's official residence on Dawson Street, tomorrow.

Members of the public will be allowed to file past the coffin and pay their respects.

A formal reception of Mr Reynold's remains will be held at the Sacred Heart Church in Donnybrook later in the evening.

Planning is continuing for the full State funeral on Monday, with Mass expected to start at midday. The service will be broadcast outside for those who can not get a seat in the church.

The former leader will be buried at Shanganagh Cemetery on the Old Bray Road in Shankill, Co Dublin.

Sir John Major, who signed the 1993 Downing Street Delcaration with Mr Reynolds that paved the way for the Good Friday Agreement and lasting peace, yesterday remembered Mr Reynolds as the leader who made things happen.

The ex-prime minister described him as a friend and a politician deserving of his place in history.

Mr Reynolds, who had been suffering from Alzheimer's disease, is survived by his wife Kathleen, two sons and five daughters.

Born in November 1932 in Rooskey, Co Roscommon, he was elected to the Irish parliament in 1977 and went on to become taoiseach in February 1992.

Former US president Bill Clinton said Mr Reynolds worked hard and risked much to advance the peace process.

"His leadership alongside British prime minister John Major was instrumental in laying the foundation for the Good Friday Agreement, and our world owes him a profound debt of gratitude," he said.

"I will always be grateful for his encouragement, advice, and support in the peace process."

Press Association

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