Father Alec Reid: ‘He believed in representing the next person about to be hurt’
FATHER Alec Reid believed strongly in representing the "next person" who was going to be killed or hurt in the Northern Ireland conflict, his thanksgiving mass heard today.
The 82-year-old was described as a "model peacemaker" who became personally involved in the conflict's "full flesh and blood humanity".
It was a fitting tribute for a man who strode to achieve peace during the darkest of periods.
Mourners at a special thanksgiving mass in Rathgar heard how Fr Reid was a "Dub" who fell in love with hurling after moving to Nenagh in County Tipperary.
A close friend of the deceased, Reverend Harold Good, recounted the moment Fr Reid witnessed the decommissioning of IRA weapons in 2005.
"He turned to me and whispered: 'There goes the gun out of Irish politics'," Rev Good said.
President Michael D Higgins attended today's mass with his wife Sabina.
On arrival, he remarked that his attendance was a "small gesture for a great man".
In his homily, Fr Michael Kelleher said Fr Reid's work in the North has been widely recognised.
"Fr Alec saw himself as a servant of Christ in a situation of conflict," he said.
Fr Reid's remains were later brought to Clonard in West Belfast, where he lived during the Troubles.
His funeral mass is due to take place in Clonard Church on Wednesday.
Irish political leaders have been united in paying tributes to the 82-year-old since his death on Friday.
Taoiseach Enda Kenny was represented at the service by ADC commander Alan Bolger.
Also in attendance were Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams, the party's deputy leader Mary Lou McDonald, former minister Lucinda Creighton and her husband, senator Paul Bradford.
Stuart Dwyer, US Charge d'Affaires, represented the US government.
Niall O'Connor, Political Correspondent