Sunday 21 January 2018

Fr Alec Reid's courage earned him a special place in history

FATHER Alec Reid, his face distraught with horror and grief, was photographed kneeling in prayer beside the almost naked bodies of two British soldiers. The photograph became one of the enduring images of the 'Troubles' and for that iconic image alone the gentle Redemptorist from Tipperary, who served the bulk of his life in West Belfast, would be well remembered.

The horrific events of March 19, 1988, known as the 'corporals' killings' had followed on a series of extraordinarily violent incidents at a time of bleakness bordering on despair.

But Alec Reid was already working hard behind the scenes trying to make meaningful peace talks possible. The courage and faith, which saw him risk kneeling beside two 'enemy' soldiers amid many hundreds of IRA members and sympathisers, served him well on his long, lonely peace mission.

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