Tributes pour in for late Taoiseach Albert Reynolds

Liam Cosgrove


Liam Cosgrove

The late Albert Reynolds when he took over as Taoiseach in February 1992. Pic Photocall Ireland
Tributes are being paid this morning to former Taoiseach Albert Reynolds who has passed away at the age of 81.

Tributes are being paid this morning to former Taoiseach Albert Reynolds who has passed away at the age of 81.

The Rooskey native died peacefully shortly before 3am this morning.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny extended his sympathies to Mr Reynolds’ wife Kathleen, his two sons and five daughters.

He said the contribution made by Mr Reynolds to political life, and especially the peace process, would never be forgotten.

“As Taoiseach he played an important part in bringing together differing strands of political opinion in Northern Ireland and as a consequence made an important contribution to the development of the peace process which eventually lead to the Good Friday Agreement,” he said.

President Michael D Higgins was equally wholesome in his praise of his one-time government comrade.

“When I served in cabinet with him, I found him to be very supportive of many of the cultural initiatives which I introduced. I recall his great courtesy and relaxed manner in all our dealings on various issues.”

Besides the vast national as well as international respect he garnered, it was at a local level where Mr Reynolds’ passing this morning has been especially felt.

Fianna Fail spokesperson and Longford Co Councillor Seamus Butler said the party had been left shattered by the news.

“Albert was a one-off, an icon,” said a plainly upset Cllr Butler.

A respected businessman also, Cllr Butler said the success enjoyed by Mr Reynolds throughout his long and distinguished career was one of the reasons for his own decision to enter politics.

Cllr Butler said Mr Reynolds penchant for wheeling and dealing opened many doors, both from a political and business standpoint.

“People will forget he was finance minister from 88 to 91 at a very difficult time and he helped lay the foundations for the recovery of our economy.

“He was also Minister for Posts and Telegraphs when our communication system wasn’t the best. It could take up to a year or more to get a phone, yet he modernised the whole thing,” he said.

Fellow County Councillor Padraig Loughrey said there was little denying the imprint Mr Reynolds had made, both at local and national level.

“His committment to Longford and Ireland was immense in particular the whole peace process,” he said.

Others, like Noel Conway, Chairperson of Longford C.D.C Fianna Fail, opted to hone in on how the Roscommon native’s legacy will ultimately be remembered.

“On behalf of the Fianna Fáil party in County Longford I want to extend our deepest sympathy to Albert’s Wife Kathleen and his family on the sad death of Albert.

“We are extremely proud of his contributions to the Island of Ireland in particular the peace process and to County Longford.”

Alongside the numerous tributes, there were regrets too. Boyle Municipal Chairperson Cllr Eugene Murphy lamented the fact his time as Taoiseach was so short lived.

“I believe the fact that he served as Taoiseach for less than three years was a big loss to this Country and indeed this region,” he said.