| 5.4°C Belfast

Albert Reynolds: Pope Francis pays tribute to late former Taoiseach for role as peacemaker

Albert Reynolds: Peace process Taoiseach dies aged 81 Close

A portrait of former Taoiseach Albert Reynolds at the Church of the Sacred Heart in Donnybrook, Dublin, prior to his funeral service Maxwells/PA Wire

A portrait of former Taoiseach Albert Reynolds at the Church of the Sacred Heart in Donnybrook, Dublin, prior to his funeral service Maxwells/PA Wire

PA

File Pics Albert Reynolds Has Died. Taoiseach and Fianna Fail leader Albert Reynolds reads over papers in the Balmoral Hotel Edinburgh in preparation for the EU Summit. 10/12/1992 Pic Photocall Ireland

File Pics Albert Reynolds Has Died. Taoiseach and Fianna Fail leader Albert Reynolds reads over papers in the Balmoral Hotel Edinburgh in preparation for the EU Summit. 10/12/1992 Pic Photocall Ireland

Family members (left) of former Taoiseach Albert Reynolds, sit behind his coffin during the removal service at the Church of the Sacred Heart in Donnybrook, Dublin. Maxwells/PA Wire

Family members (left) of former Taoiseach Albert Reynolds, sit behind his coffin during the removal service at the Church of the Sacred Heart in Donnybrook, Dublin. Maxwells/PA Wire

PA

File Pics Albert Reynolds Has Died. Taoiseach and Fianna Fail leader Albert Reynolds speaking to businessman Michael Smurfit during the Jefferson Smurfit Memorial race day meeting at the Curragh. Tony Smurfit Junior is on the right. 19/9/1992 Pic Photocall Ireland

File Pics Albert Reynolds Has Died. Taoiseach and Fianna Fail leader Albert Reynolds speaking to businessman Michael Smurfit during the Jefferson Smurfit Memorial race day meeting at the Curragh. Tony Smurfit Junior is on the right. 19/9/1992 Pic Photocall Ireland

File Pics Albert Reynolds Has Died. Taoiseach and Fianna Fail leader Albert Reynolds talks with Brian Farrell from RTE(L) and Michael Collins from Foreign Affairs during a press briefing in Balmoral Hotel in Edinburgh during the EU Summit. 12/12/1992 Pic Photocall Ireland

File Pics Albert Reynolds Has Died. Taoiseach and Fianna Fail leader Albert Reynolds talks with Brian Farrell from RTE(L) and Michael Collins from Foreign Affairs during a press briefing in Balmoral Hotel in Edinburgh during the EU Summit. 12/12/1992 Pic Photocall Ireland

File Pics Albert Reynolds Has Died. Fianna Fail Minister Albert Reynolds unveils the Irish Life share price. 4/7/1991 Pic Photocall Ireland

File Pics Albert Reynolds Has Died. Fianna Fail Minister Albert Reynolds unveils the Irish Life share price. 4/7/1991 Pic Photocall Ireland

File Pics Albert Reynolds Has Died. Fianna Fail leader Albert Reynolds takes over as Taoiseach as he gets ready for a days work in his new office . 12/2/1992 Pic Photocall Ireland

File Pics Albert Reynolds Has Died. Fianna Fail leader Albert Reynolds takes over as Taoiseach as he gets ready for a days work in his new office . 12/2/1992 Pic Photocall Ireland

Taoiseach and Fianna Fail leader Albert Reynolds

Taoiseach and Fianna Fail leader Albert Reynolds

Photocall Ireland

File Pics Albert Reynolds Has Died. Taoiseach and Fianna Fail leader Albert Reynolds canvassing in Kerry. 10/11/1992 Pic Leon Farrell/Photocall Ireland

File Pics Albert Reynolds Has Died. Taoiseach and Fianna Fail leader Albert Reynolds canvassing in Kerry. 10/11/1992 Pic Leon Farrell/Photocall Ireland

File Pics Albert Reynolds Has Died. Taoiseach and Fianna Fail leader Albert Reynolds with Government Press Officer Sean Duignan(L) about to go into talks during the Edinburgh EU Summit. 12/12/1992 Pic Photocall Ireland

File Pics Albert Reynolds Has Died. Taoiseach and Fianna Fail leader Albert Reynolds with Government Press Officer Sean Duignan(L) about to go into talks during the Edinburgh EU Summit. 12/12/1992 Pic Photocall Ireland

File Pics Albert Reynolds Has Died. Albert Reynolds Chairman of Bula at their EGM. 25/5/1999 Pic Photocall Ireland

File Pics Albert Reynolds Has Died. Albert Reynolds Chairman of Bula at their EGM. 25/5/1999 Pic Photocall Ireland

File Pics Albert Reynolds Has Died. "HANDS UP". TAOISEACH AND FIANNA FAIL LEADER ALBERT REYNOLDS LEAVES ARAS AN UACHATARAIN AFTER RECEIVING HIS SEAL OF OFFICE. 11/12/1992 PIC PHOTOCALL IRELAND

File Pics Albert Reynolds Has Died. "HANDS UP". TAOISEACH AND FIANNA FAIL LEADER ALBERT REYNOLDS LEAVES ARAS AN UACHATARAIN AFTER RECEIVING HIS SEAL OF OFFICE. 11/12/1992 PIC PHOTOCALL IRELAND

File Pics Albert Reynolds Has Died. ALBERT REYNOLDS READS THE PAPER IN HIS DUBLIN HOME DURING HIS PERIOD IN POLITICAL LIMBO FOLLOWING HIS SACKING BY THE TAOISEACH. 25/1/1992 PIC PHOTOCALL IRELAND

File Pics Albert Reynolds Has Died. ALBERT REYNOLDS READS THE PAPER IN HIS DUBLIN HOME DURING HIS PERIOD IN POLITICAL LIMBO FOLLOWING HIS SACKING BY THE TAOISEACH. 25/1/1992 PIC PHOTOCALL IRELAND

File Pics Albert Reynolds Has Died. Former Fianna Fail Taoiseach Albert Reynolds at Bula AGM in Dublin were he announced he was stepping down as non-executive Chairman of Bula Resources. 9/9/2002 Pic Photocall Ireland

File Pics Albert Reynolds Has Died. Former Fianna Fail Taoiseach Albert Reynolds at Bula AGM in Dublin were he announced he was stepping down as non-executive Chairman of Bula Resources. 9/9/2002 Pic Photocall Ireland

File Pics Albert Reynolds Has Died. PRESIDENT MARY ROBINSON WITH TAOISEACH ALBERT REYNOLDS TO GIVE HIM HIS SEAL OF OFFICE. 12/1/1993 PIC PHOTOCALL IRELAND

File Pics Albert Reynolds Has Died. PRESIDENT MARY ROBINSON WITH TAOISEACH ALBERT REYNOLDS TO GIVE HIM HIS SEAL OF OFFICE. 12/1/1993 PIC PHOTOCALL IRELAND

File Pics Albert Reynolds Has Died. L TO R. John Wilson with Taoiseach and Fianna Fail leader Albert Reynolds at the launch of the Maastricht Treaty campaign. 23/4/1992 Pic Photocall Ireland

File Pics Albert Reynolds Has Died. L TO R. John Wilson with Taoiseach and Fianna Fail leader Albert Reynolds at the launch of the Maastricht Treaty campaign. 23/4/1992 Pic Photocall Ireland

File Pics Albert Reynolds Has Died. JOURNALIST EMILY O REILLY WITH TAOISEACH ALBERT REYNOLDS DURING THE MAASTRICHT CAMPAIGN. 1992 PIC PHOTOCALL IRELAND

File Pics Albert Reynolds Has Died. JOURNALIST EMILY O REILLY WITH TAOISEACH ALBERT REYNOLDS DURING THE MAASTRICHT CAMPAIGN. 1992 PIC PHOTOCALL IRELAND

File Pics Albert Reynolds Has Died. BERTIE AHERN, NEW LEADER OF FIANNA FAIL WITH FORMER LEADER ALBERT REYNOLDS AT GOVERNMENT BUILDINGS. 19/12/1994 PIC PHOTOCALL IRELAND

File Pics Albert Reynolds Has Died. BERTIE AHERN, NEW LEADER OF FIANNA FAIL WITH FORMER LEADER ALBERT REYNOLDS AT GOVERNMENT BUILDINGS. 19/12/1994 PIC PHOTOCALL IRELAND

File Pics Albert Reynolds Has Died. L TO R. FIANNA FAIL LEADER BERTIE AHERN AT THE FORUM WITH ALBERT REYNOLDS IN DUBLIN CASTLE. 18/11/1994 PIC PHOTOCALL IRELAND!

File Pics Albert Reynolds Has Died. L TO R. FIANNA FAIL LEADER BERTIE AHERN AT THE FORUM WITH ALBERT REYNOLDS IN DUBLIN CASTLE. 18/11/1994 PIC PHOTOCALL IRELAND!

File Pics Albert Reynolds Has Died. FIANNA FAIL TD BERTIE AHERN(L) AND FIANNA FAIL TD ALBERT REYNOLDS AT A PARTY FUNCTION. PIC PHOTOCALL IRELAND

File Pics Albert Reynolds Has Died. FIANNA FAIL TD BERTIE AHERN(L) AND FIANNA FAIL TD ALBERT REYNOLDS AT A PARTY FUNCTION. PIC PHOTOCALL IRELAND

File Pics Albert Reynolds Has Died. OLIVIA O LEARY (R), CO-AUTHOR OF "MARY ROBINSON - THE AUTHORISED BIOGRAPHY' WITH FORMER TAOISEACH, ALBERT REYNOLDS AND AN TAOISEACH, BERTIE AHERN, T.D. AT THE BOOKS LAUNCH IN THE NATIONAL MUSEUM IN DUBLIN. 5/11/1998 PIC PHOTOCALL IRELAND

File Pics Albert Reynolds Has Died. OLIVIA O LEARY (R), CO-AUTHOR OF "MARY ROBINSON - THE AUTHORISED BIOGRAPHY' WITH FORMER TAOISEACH, ALBERT REYNOLDS AND AN TAOISEACH, BERTIE AHERN, T.D. AT THE BOOKS LAUNCH IN THE NATIONAL MUSEUM IN DUBLIN. 5/11/1998 PIC PHOTOCALL IRELAND

File Pics Albert Reynolds Has Died. Taoiseach Bertie Ahern wishes former Taoiseach Albert Reynolds a happy birthday at the launch of the fourth edition of Who`s Who in Ireland,edited by Angel Phelan,pictured in Brown Thomas Dublin.Photo:Leon Farrell Photocall Ireland

File Pics Albert Reynolds Has Died. Taoiseach Bertie Ahern wishes former Taoiseach Albert Reynolds a happy birthday at the launch of the fourth edition of Who`s Who in Ireland,edited by Angel Phelan,pictured in Brown Thomas Dublin.Photo:Leon Farrell Photocall Ireland

File Pics Albert Reynolds Has Died. Taoiseach Bertie Ahern wishes former Taoiseach Albert Reynolds a happy birthday at the launch of the fourth edition of Who`s Who in Ireland,edited by Angel Phelan,pictured in Brown Thomas Dublin.Photo:Leon Farrell Photocall Ireland

File Pics Albert Reynolds Has Died. Taoiseach Bertie Ahern wishes former Taoiseach Albert Reynolds a happy birthday at the launch of the fourth edition of Who`s Who in Ireland,edited by Angel Phelan,pictured in Brown Thomas Dublin.Photo:Leon Farrell Photocall Ireland

A portrait of former Taoiseach Albert Reynolds at the Church of the Sacred Heart in Donnybrook, Dublin, prior to his funeral service Maxwells/PA Wire

Pope Francis has paid tribute to the late former taoiseach Albert Reynolds for his work as a peacemaker.

As mourners gather for a state funeral in Dublin for the politician and businessman, the pontiff sent a telegram in praise of his efforts to promote reconciliation in Northern Ireland.

Hundreds of politicians, business figures and dignitaries are attending requiem mass at the Sacred Heart Church, Donnybrook, along with the extended family, friends and supporters.

Mr Reynolds died last Thursday aged 81 after a long illness.

In the message from the Vatican's secretary of state Cardinal Pietro Parolin to Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin, the Pope praised his work and offered condolences to the family.

"The Holy Father learned with sadness of the death of the former taoiseach Albert Reynolds and he asks you kindly to convey his condolences to Mrs Reynolds and their children and family," the senior cleric said.

"Recalling with gratitude the late taoiseach's efforts to promote peace and reconciliation in Ireland, His Holiness prays for the eternal repose of his soul.

"To all those gathered for the funeral rites, the Holy Father imparts his Apostolic Blessing as a pledge of consolation and hope in the risen Lord."

Tributes flooded in from home and abroad in the days since Mr Reynolds' death with contemporaries heralding the massive legacy he left after taking risks to carve out the Northern Ireland peace process.

Mr Reynolds is survived by his wife Kathleen, two sons and five daughters.

The family confirmed last year that he had been suffering from Alzheimer's disease.

Born in November 1932 in Rooskey, Co Roscommon, Mr Reynolds was elected to the Irish parliament in 1977 and went on to become taoiseach in February 1992 in a coalition government.

Mr Reynolds's remains were brought to the church on Saturday evening after lying in state in the Mansion House for several hours that afternoon.

The coffin sat in front of the altar for the mass, draped in the Irish Tricolour.

Several gifts to be offered up by Mr Reynolds's grandchildren in the service were also in the church including a book of cloakroom tickets representing his time in showband era, a 1963 train carriage for his time working with Ireland's transport agency and a tin of dog food representing his successful C&D Foods business.

A photograph of the former taoiseach was printed on the mass booklet along with the quotation from James Freeman Clarke: "A politician thinks about the next election; a statesman thinks of the next generation."

Among those attending the funeral are Sir John Major, who signed the Downing Street Declaration with Mr Reynolds in 1993 and paved the way for peace talks involving the British and Irish governments and Sinn Fein.

The party's senior figure, Northern Ireland Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness was also attending, along with Liam Cosgrave, the oldest surviving former taoiseach, and Mr Reynolds's successor as Fianna Fail leader taoiseach Bertie Ahern.

A large number of members of the judiciary also attended as did Church of Ireland Archbishop Michael Jackson.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny also attended, along with President Michael D Higgins, a minister in Mr Reynolds's second government.

Figures from politics across Ireland attended including the former SDLP leader and Nobel prize winner John Hume, Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams, a TD in the Irish Republic since 2011, Alasdair McDonnell, leader of the nationalist SDLP, and Northern Ireland Secretary of State Theresa VIlliers.

Other former taoisigh at the service included Brian Cowen and John Bruton, while former president Mary McAleese also attended.

A large group of figures from Longford County Council also attended, as did Lord Mayor of Dublin Christy Burke.

The mass was celebrated by Fr Brian D'Arcy, a close family friend, with Archbishop Martin and a number of other concelebrants.

The mass began with a special mention for Sir John Major's attendance, which was greeted with a round of applause throughout the packed church.

Fr D'Arcy said it was particularly important for the family that the former PM was able to attend.

The chief celebrant told mourners: "His (Sir John's ) words were typical: 'where else would I be on this day?"'

Belfast Telegraph


Privacy