Death of Father Alec Reid
Statement by President Michael D. Higgins
I was saddened to learn of the death of Fr. Alec Reid and I wish to extend my sincere sympathies to his family and his fellow Redemptorists.
As a Redemptorist, Fr. Reid selflessly served communities in both parts of this island with both compassion and humility for over 60 years.
Fr. Reid spent four decades in Clonard Monastery in Belfast ministering to a community traumatised by the violence and division of the troubles. During that time, he witnessed events of both deep despair and great hope. His ministering of the last rites to the two British corporals brutally killed in 1988 offered us an image of decency struggling to assert itself amidst brutality. More encouraging and even more significant, was the role of witness he played in the decommissioning of IRA weapons in 2005.
Fr. Reid will perhaps best be remembered for the courageous part he played in identifying and nurturing the early seeds of an inclusive peace process. Fr. Reid’s role as a channel for peace laid the ground for the achievement of the IRA cease-fire and created the political space for the multi-party talks that ultimately led to the Good Friday Agreement. While he spent the last few years of his life in Dublin, Fr. Reid would have been gratified by the positive transformation that is under way throughout Northern Ireland, and especially in the Belfast that he loved so well.
Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam dílis.