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How Albert's garda still watched over him ahead of State funeral

The loyal garda who watched over Albert Reynolds for 18 years was back on duty guarding the late former Taoiseach over the weekend.

Garda Donie Hanrahan, from Donnybrook Garda Station, stayed overnight with Mr Reynolds' coffin in the Church of the Sacred Heart in Dublin 4.

"I was delighted when the family accepted the offer. I would have been with him all the time," he said.

Garda Hanrahan was part of the security detail at Mr Reynolds' house from the time he became Taoiseach in 1992 until the Government removed the entitlement three years ago.

The long-serving Garda described Mr Reynolds as "very unassuming, no problem, no hassle" and said he was deeply saddened by his passing.

"It would bring a tear to your eye," he said.

When Mr Reynolds later moved from 'Hazeldene' on Anglesea Road to Ailesbury Road to a penthouse apartment in the Four Seasons Hotel in Ballsbridge the sentry box was removed. But Garda Hanrahan was a mainstay as one of the security detail from 1992 to 2011.

"I know all the family so well. They were a lovely family. In a way, they were like a country family," he said.

"I was standing post at the house. We started out in Hazeldene and then Ailesbury Road and then on to the Four Seasons. We were in a hut and we kept an eye out. You worked the grounds," he said.

A friend said the Reynolds family were pleased to have Garda Hanrahan back on duty as the coffin rested in the church from Saturday evening until the funeral this morning.

Originally from Mitchelstown in Co Cork, Garda Hanrahan is married with three children and lives in Kildare. He has been based in Donnybrook since 1978.

Mr Reynolds' State funeral will take place at the church this morning at noon, followed by the burial afterwards in Shanganagh Cemetery.

The funeral will have a strong musical feel, reflecting the former Taoiseach's background in the dancehall business.

Red Hurley, Paddy Cole, Eamon Monaghan and Eimear Quinn will all perform at the funeral, along with the Palestrina Choir,

The Mass will be celebrated by Fr Brian D'Arcy, with the final commendation from Archbishop Diarmuid Martin. Mr Reynolds' son, Philip, will perform the eulogy on behalf of the family. Family members will do readings at the mass.