The vision of former Taoiseach Albert Reynolds, who is in the ‘very late stages’ of Alzheimer’s, has been praised as events were staged to mark the 20th anniversary of the Downing Street Declaration.
Mr Reynolds’ son Philip told Shannonside Radio that his father now requires 24-hour care, and he is unable to have conversations with people.
Signed on December 15, 1993, by Mr Reynolds and then British Prime Minister John Major, the Downing Street Declaration marked a new beginning in Anglo/Irish relations and it paved the way for the August 1994 IRA ceasefire and the 1998 Good Friday Agreement.
At a commemorative event in Iveagh House, Sir John Major (70) said he and Albert Reynolds (81) risked their careers in 1993.
Prior to last Wednesday’s event, Mr Major visited Mr Reynolds and he paid tribute to him, “Albert, I see you too rarely these days, but think of you often. I am proud to call you a friend.”
The audience also included Mr Reynolds’s wife Kathleen, their daughters, Emer, Andrea and Cathy, and their son, Philip.
Philip said of his father, “Right now he’s pretty bad. He has 24-hour care.”
He added, “A sure sign of that is when you see that my mum was representing him last week. It was difficult to get my mum to come to the Temperance Hall or the Mall (in Longford town) when he was elected.
“To get her to go out front and represent him says everything about how he is himself. If he had been any way well enough, he would, of course, have been there.”