Tuesday 25 June 2019

'I think he's misunderstood as a politician' - Albert Reynolds' son tells how politics takes its toll on families

PRESSURES: Businessman Philip Reynolds says life can be difficult for the families of politicians. Photo: David Conachy
PRESSURES: Businessman Philip Reynolds says life can be difficult for the families of politicians. Photo: David Conachy
Samantha McCaughren

Samantha McCaughren

Philip Reynolds, son of former Taoiseach Albert Reynolds, has described how difficult life can be for the families of politicians.

He also said he believes that social media and the rush to judge people in public life have made political life more difficult than it was in his father's time.

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In an exclusive interview with the Sunday Independent, the businessman said: "I think it's extremely, extremely hard on people.

"I think it's extremely hard on the politician, but I think it's equally as hard, if not harder, on those in the family.

"I saw it first hand with dad. Dad was so caught up in it and so involved in it and so close to it that the momentum of that just carried him."

However, his mother, Kathleen "was at home and not having the same sort of adrenalin rushes from it".

She was left "a lot of the time processing it for herself because he wasn't there to help her work through it because he was gone to the next gig or whatever it was and it's not the sort of thing that you speak openly about," he said.

"So yeah, it is a very, very tough profession."

He said that his father, who died in 2014, might have struggled in the social media age.

"When you think of the rumpus that was created over the few media slips that dad had, can you imagine what it would be like now if he came out and he said 'crap, total crap' or whatever he said at the time."

This is a reference to a comment made by Albert Reynolds describing a claim that he had never spoken to PD leader Des O'Malley outside the Cabinet as ''crap, pure crap'' and as ''crap, total crap''.

"Twitter would have had a field day with him," Reynolds said.

Philip Reynolds also said that former Taoiseach Brian Cowen, a personal friend, was underestimated, acknowledging that it was an unpopular thing to say.

"I know the guy personally, and I know the type of guy he is, and I just think in another time, in another set of circumstances, he could have been probably one of the greatest taoisigh that Ireland had ever had", he added about the Taoiseach who lost office in the election of 2011.

"You don't choose your time in politics. You have to make your time in politics and Brian did that but had things just transpired a bit differently, I think that whole story could have been a whole lot different.

"I think he's misunderstood as a politician," he said.

"In a different time and a different space, I think he would have shown people to be a truly fantastic statesman."

Philip Reynolds has just sold the last of his stake in the family business C&D Foods to beef baron Larry Goodman.

Sunday Independent

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