Sunday 25 March 2018

Reynolds children defend father who was 'isolated, shunned, vilified'

Kathleen Reynolds with her sons Albert and Philip
Kathleen Reynolds with her sons Albert and Philip
Fionnan Sheahan

Fionnan Sheahan

Albert Reynolds' children launched a stirring defence of their father against the criticism the former Taoiseach endured during his career.

Throughout the mass at the State funeral, there were a number of references to attacks on Mr Reynolds.

The comments reflected the perception Mr Reynolds didn't receive credit for his work during his lifetime.

His daughter Miriam referred to the way he was treated in her prayer of the faithful.

"In his relentless pursuit of his political objective, Dad was frequently isolated, shunned and vilified - the lonesome boatman," she said.

"Fortunately, for all of us, he was blessed with noble qualities, which sustained him during those gruesome gruelling years. He never gave up and he never looked back," she added.

In her reflection, Andrea Reynolds said her father had taught her to "never fear failure". She told a story about failing an exam and how her father had encouraged her to carry on.

"You will learn about life from this experience than if you had passed with flying colours," she said he told her.

But Ms Reynolds also read a famous passage from a speech made by President Theodore Roosevelt in 1910 titled: 'The Citizen in the Republic', which begins with: "It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena." After completing the passage, she added: "That man in the arena was our dad and we will be forever proud."

In his eulogy, Philip Reynolds referred to the numerous tributes to his father since his death.

"It is some quare and peculiar trait character in the Irish that seems to suggest that we can all afford to a generosity in death that we are so hard to give in life," he said.

Mr Reynolds also defended his father's celebrated, and often derided demand for all issues to be summarised on one page.

"His often scoffed at one-page philosophy says more about us than it does about him. While the rest of us would be flapping around looking for the reassurance of what we were about to do, dad would be gone.

"That ability to keep things simple is what made decision-making in his life so easy. It wasn't just a hunch, you know. He knew what he wanted and, in addition, any more than one page only served to confuse the issue," he said.

Irish Independent

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