Brian D’Arcy paid tribute to Albert Reynolds and his dedication in solving the conflict in the North at his funeral today.
D’Arcy’s eulogy showed just how heavily engaged Reynolds was in relations in the North even before he became Taoiseach, and how well he utilised the contacts he made through his friendship with the priest.
“We often spoke passionately about how violence was destroying our country,” he said.
“Occasionally I would find a mysterious letter from the monastery where I’d live for Albert Reynolds. An hour later when I would be going home, he’d give me another letter to be collected later on.
“So you see, he was working away at making contacts and testing the waters long before he became Taoiseach.
“He knew that peace is more than the mere absence of war, he knew peace cannot take root before the violence stops.
“Brian before I leave this office I will have peace in the north. That was his promise on the day and it became the only battle worth waging.
“He knew peace was only achieved by talking to just your friends you must also talk to your enemies and make friends through them. Peace is made through dialogue.
“Albert believed in words and miracle but thankfully he also believed in actions. He had the courage to risk everything for peace.
“We know if he hadn’t made that peace we’d still be killing one another to this day. Albert was a central figure in ending the violence and as Vice President of the USA John Biden said, he paved the way for every major agreement for the past 20 years.
“Because of Albert’s inspired approached, no father would have to lift his precious daughter from a bombed out rubble again.
“Albert was much more than a public figure. I knew him through show business and believe me that’s another story and as he’s a one page story man we’ve no time for that here!
“He was an uncanny businessman, he knew you had to have a phone but knew you had to make the calls as well. He was extraordinarily proud of negotiating in Europe to get 7 or 8 billion punts for the country.
“But most of all he was a dedicated family man. He said on more than one occasion the best decision he ever made was to marry Kathleen. Kathleen showed enormous courage, she is a woman of real faith who had this ability to get to the matter quickly.
“Nobody who ever entered the house could fail to see the palpable love that Kathleen and Albert had. At the start of his search for peace he realised that Kathleen’s prayers were a vital part of the strategy.
D’Arcy then quoted a reflection that he has been reading around Reynolds’ coffin with his family, a poem by Irish poet John O’Donohue.
He finished by saying “Albert, may you enjoy eternal peace. May you rest in peace. You were indeed a man of peace.”