Fr Alec Reid – The Chaplain to the Peace Process – Adams
Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams TD has expressed his deep sense of personal loss at the death of Father Alec Reid and he has extended his condolences to Father Alec’s sisters Maura and Margaret and their families, to his Aunt Ita, to his wider family circle, and to his Redemptorist community and to his wide circle of friends.
Mr Adams said:
“I want to express my deep sadness and personal sense of loss at the news that my very good friend Fr Alec Reid died during the night.
“I visited him in hospital last Thursday evening and as ever, despite his illness, he was in good form asking after all of his friends.
“I have known Fr Alec for 40 years. He was a man of deep conviction and love of the gospel who believed in the good of everyone.
“Throughout his time in Clonard he worked tirelessly for all the people of Belfast. He was unstinting in his efforts for peace.
“In the 1970’s along with Fr. Des Wilson he acted as a facilitator to end inter-republican conflicts. They also started a dialogue with loyalist paramilitaries.
“Alec was a friend to the republican prisoners and especially those involved in the H Block and Armagh prison protests and hunger strikes and their families.
“He and I had many discussions about the conflict, its causes and how it might be ended. Out of those conversations emerged a commitment to dialogue as the first necessary step along that process and a commencement of a process in the early 1980s to commence a process of dialogue with the Catholic Hierarchy, SDLP leader John Hume and the Irish and British governments.
“Fr Reid was tenacious in his pursuit of peace. He wrote copious letters to political leaders here and in Britain and engaged in countless meetings with politicians and government’s seeking to persuade them to start the process of talking. He saw good in everyone and lived the gospel message. His was the gospel of the streets.
“He was there during the battle of the funerals including the funerals of the IRA volunteers killed at Gibraltar. He was in Milltown Cemetery when the mourners were attacked. Three were killed and over 60 wounded and he administrated the last rites to the two British soldiers killed at that time.
“There would not be a peace process at this time without his diligent doggedness and his refusal to give up. Fr Alec also actively engaged and encouraged the peace process in the Basque country.
“On behalf of Sinn Féin I want to extend my deepest condolences to his sisters Maura and Margaret and their families, to his Aunt Ita, to his wider family circle, to his Redemptorist community and to his wide circle of friends.
“Father Alec was the chaplain to the peace process.
“Go ndeanfaid Dia trocaire ar a n’anam dilse.”