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Saturday 20 September 2014

President Higgins: 'Albert Reynolds was committed to serving the people of Ireland'

Former president Mary McAleese also gave tribute to the man who was "the lynchpin of the peace process"

Published 21/08/2014 | 10:50

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Michael D Higgins
Michael D Higgins

President Michael D Higgins has expressed his “deepest sympathy ” the entire Reynolds family upon learning of the death of former Taoiseach Albert Reynolds.

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Albert Reynolds will be remembered as a most dynamic cabinet minister and a Taoiseach with courage, who made a very important contribution to the dialogue which led to the Northern Ireland peace process,” he said in a statement this morning.

“When I served in cabinet with him, I found him to be very supportive of many of the cultural initiatives which I introduced. I recall his great courtesy and relaxed manner in all our dealings on various issues.”

“Former Taoiseach Reynolds was committed to serving the people of Ireland with all of his energy. It is appropriate that we pay tribute to his significant contribution to our contemporary society," he said.

His comments follow the tribute from former president Mary McAleese on Today on Sean O’Rourke.

“He generated a mutually respectful language and a mutual respect for each other in the North. The beginning to see each other as potential partners in the peace process and the Downing Street Declaration was part of that,” she said.

“He set up the forum for peace and reconciliation. To hold all the bits he had managed to garner until the politics stabilised and I think that was his great capacity to see a deal through to devolution, he was the main navigator,” she continued.

President Mary MacAleese

McAleese beat Reynolds to the Fianna Fail candidacy for the 1997 Presidential Election but that never changed their relationship.

“Albert Reynolds was above all else a very decent man. He was a really good, decent human being,” she said.

“He was disappointed, of course he was, but the first he did was shake my hand and wish me well and say ‘today is your day’.

“He was without a doubt the lynchpin of the peace process.”

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