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Tipperary Native Father Alec Reid Passes Away

Reid

Father Alec Reid: “The only way you can solve such conflicts is through dialogue between all participants.”

It is with deepest sympathy we learn of the passing of Father Alec Reid, in St Vincent’s Hospital. Dublin, early this morning.

Fr Reid  C.Ss.R. was born in 1931 and raised here in Nenagh Co. Tipperary and 29 years later went on to become an Irish priest noted for his facilitator role in the Northern Ireland peace process.

Reid was professed as a Redemptorist in 1950, and ordained a priest seven years later. For the next four years, he gave Parish Missions in Limerick, Dundalk and Galway, before moving to Clonard monastery in Belfast, where he would spend almost the next forty years.

He will be best-remembered by many people as the priest who gave the last rites to two British army Royal Signals Corporals; David Howes and Derek Wood, latter who were partially stripped and killed, having driven into a republican funeral in 1988. Indeed a photograph of his involvement in that same incident became one of the bleakest and most lasting images of this troubles period in our Irish History.

In his effort to bring an end to the difficulties in Northern Ireland, Fr Reid facilitated talks between Sinn Féin’s Gerry Adams and SDLP leader John Hume and has long been identified as having nurturing the seeds of the as yet uneasy peace we now enjoy on this island.

Personal Recognition

During his life Fr Reid received the 2008 Gandhi Foundation International Peace Award together with Presbyterian Minister Rev Harold Good. On July4th 2008, Fr Reid was also made an Honorary Graduate of the University of Ulster and made a Doctor of the University (DUniv), in recognition of his contribution to the Northern Ireland peace process. On April 19th 2009, Fr Reid was awarded the Reflections of Hope Award by the Oklahoma City National Memorial and Museum.

Fr Reid, despite being in bad health in more recent years, continued his deep respect for human dignity and quietly made several trips to Spain, in his efforts to broker an end to the violent disputes in the Basque region. In January 2003, he was awarded the Sabino Arana 2002 “World Mirror” prize, by the Sabino Arana Foundation in Bilbao, in recognition of his efforts at promoting peace and reconciliation.

Funeral Details

Fr Reid’s earthly remains will now be brought to Clonard Church in Belfast where he will lie in repose on Monday between 4:00pm and 9:00pm and on Tuesday from 9:00am to 9:00pm. An ecumenical service will be held on Tuesday at 7.30pm and Fr Reid will be buried following his funeral mass at Clonard Church on Wednesday next at 12:00pm.

Go ndéana Dia trócaire ar a anam dílis.

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