Former Irish leader Albert Reynolds will receive a state funeral on Monday, the Irish government has announced. He will be buried in a Dublin cemetery. He died on Thursday and had been suffering from Alzheimer’s disease.
Tributes have been flowing in for the leader widely credited with bringing about the Downing Street Declaration, which is the underpinning of the Irish peace process.
He also played a critical role in the first IRA ceasefire in August 1994 after pushing President Clinton for a visa for Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams.
US leaders paid tribute to Reynolds yesterday. Vice President Joe Biden stated:
“I was deeply saddened to learn of the passing today of former Taoiseach Albert Reynolds. His instrumental role in the 1993 Downing Street Declaration in London with former British Prime Minister John Major and his efforts to enact subsequent ceasefires paved the way for every major peace agreement for the last twenty years, and his deep conviction that there was nothing to fear from peace still resounds across Ireland and Northern Ireland today.
“Taoiseach Reynolds knew that keeping of peace requires continuing commitment and constant attention. I urge today’s leaders to continue advancing the peace process in Northern Ireland, so that all of its citizens can live in the peaceful, prosperous, and shared community that Reynolds envisioned. I send my deepest condolences to the Taoiseach’s wife, Kathleen, to the rest of his family, and to his friends and colleagues.”
Former president Bill Clinton who worked closely with Reynolds stated, “He worked hard and risked much as Taoiseach to advance the Northern Ireland peace process.”
“His leadership alongside British Prime Minister John Major was instrumental in laying the foundation for the Good Friday Agreement, and our world owes him a profound debt of gratitude.”
Northern Ireland’s Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness said that Reynolds “was someone who understood the North and the nationalist republican community but just as importantly he understood the loyalist unionist community and had contacts in both.”