This was an honour richly deserved and a somewhat belated acknowledgement of Mr Reynolds’ brave and significant role in the Northern Ireland peace process, a role much criticised at the time and largely ignored today.
Mr Reynolds faced down those who opposed his decision to speak to all protagonists in the conflict, and as a result of this decision paved the way for the peace process we enjoy today.
The joint Downing Street Declaration issued in 1993 by Mr Reynolds and the then British Prime Minister John Major, which was instrumental in securing the IRA ceasefire and the subsequent Belfast Agreement, was a tribute to Albert Reynolds’ unshakeable belief in totally inclusive all-party talks. I believe that Mr Reynolds, jointly with John Hume and David Trimble, should have been a co-recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1998. The decision to exclude Mr Reynolds was regrettable. Mr Reynolds significant, but undervalued, achievements as Taoiseach will ensure his place in history long after some other holders of that office have been forgotten.