Former Taoiseach Albert Reynolds laid to rest after State Funeral
Published 25/08/2014 | 02:30
Albert Reynolds sought peace with determination, Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin said at his funeral today.
The funeral took place at the Church of the Sacred Heart in Donnybrook which was almost full to capacity half-an-hour beforehand.
Among those attending were former Taoisigh Liam Cosgrave, John Bruton and Bertie Ahern, Northern Ireland deputy first minister Martin McGuinness, former British prime minister John Major, former ministers Charlie McCreevy and Padraig Flynn, Dermot Ahern and Noel Dempsey, fashion designer Louise Kennedy and racehorse owner JP McManus.
The funeral Mass was celebrated by Fr Brian Darcy, while Archbishop Martin gave the final commendation.
“In his life, in his responsibility for the political and economic destiny of those he was called to serve, Albert Reynolds was responsive and creative and determined in his desire to move forward in the search for peace and for a more just, secure and prosperous society,” the Archbishop said.
“He sought peace with determination. Today we urgently need an international community which seeks peace with similar determination at a moment in which our world is marked increasingly by horrendous violence.
“In a special way Albert has been remembered for the warmth and care and personal goodness of his human qualities and his devotion to his wife and family.”
In a poignant tribute to their happy marriage and by special request of Kathleen Reynolds, renowned musicians and original Capitol Showband members Paddy Cole and Eamonn Monaghan came together again to play Acker Bilk’s hit song, Stranger on the Shore, during the communion reflection.
The song was playing when Mr Reynolds and Kathleen first met.
It is just one of several moving personal touches at the formal state funeral today which serve as a reminder of Albert the man, as well as the statesman.
The Mass book includes a loving photo of the couple in happier times, accompanied by the quote: “Marrying Kathleen was the best decision of my life.”
Also included is a little message of thanks to the family’s many friends and supporters reading: “Throughout Albert’s life, he was blessed with love, loyalty and kindness from many people.
“Kathleen and the Reynolds family would like to give thanks to all of you. We will treasure your friendships and stories forever.”
Former US ambassador Jean Kennedy-Smith called Mrs Reynolds to express her sympathies at the loss of her husband.
It has also emerged that the entire family were with Mr Reynolds at his home when he passed away in the early hours of last Thursday.
“He had been seriously ill for some time. He became bad on Tuesday. On Wednesday, everyone was asked to come back. Everybody made it. They were all with him at the end,” a family friend said.
The friend said the Reynolds family have been greatly comforted by the great many good wishes being expressed by people all over the country.
“Under the circumstances they are doing well and are very comforted by the amount of support they have received,” the friend said.
Mrs Kennedy-Smith, the last surviving sibling of former US president John F Kennedy, called Mrs Reynolds at the weekend as she will be unable to attend the funeral. She was appointed ambassador while Mr Reynolds was serving as Taoiseach and went on to play an important role in the Northern Ireland peace process.
Michael Flatley also called to express his condolences.
Meanwhile The Pope has sent his condolences to the Reynolds family on the death of former Taoiseach Albert Reynolds.
Pope Francis also commended Mr Reynolds for his role in the Northern Ireland peace process.
A telegram from the Vatican was read out at his funeral.