Alec Reid

Last updated

Father

Father Alec Reid

C.Ss.R.
MILLTOWN PRIEST DC 1 copy.jpg
Born5 August 1931
Died (aged 82)
Resting placeMilltown Cemetery, Belfast
Nationality Irish
Occupation Redemptorist Priest
Known forRole in Northern Ireland peace process
Awards

Father Alec Reid, C.Ss.R. (5 August 1931 22 November 2013) was an Irish Catholic priest noted for his facilitator role in the Northern Ireland peace process, [1] a role BBC journalist Peter Taylor subsequently described as "absolutely critical" to its success. [2]

Contents

Biography

Born and raised in Nenagh, County Tipperary, [3] Reid was professed as a Redemptorist in 1950, and ordained a priest seven years later. [4] For the next four years, he gave Parish Missions in Limerick, Dundalk and Galway (Esker), before moving to Clonard monastery in Belfast, where he spent almost the next forty years. The Redemptorist Monastery at Clonard stands on the interface between the Catholic nationalist Falls Road and the Protestant loyalist Shankill Road areas of west Belfast. [5]

He died in a Dublin hospital on 22 November 2013.

Peace work

In the late 1980s, Reid facilitated a series of meetings between Gerry Adams and John Hume, in an effort to establish a 'Pan-Nationalist front' to enable a move toward renouncing violence in favour of negotiation. Reid then acted as their contact person with the Irish Government in Dublin from a 1987 meeting with Charles Haughey up to the signing of the Good Friday Agreement in 1998. In this role, which was not public knowledge at the time, he held meetings with various Taoisigh, and particularly with Martin Mansergh, advisor to various Fianna Fáil leaders.[ citation needed ]. After the eventual success of the peace negotiations, Gerry Adams said “there would not be a peace process at this time without [Father Reid’s] diligent doggedness and his refusal to give up.” [6]

In 1988 in Belfast, Reid delivered the last rites to two British Army Royal Signals corporals killed by the Provisional Irish Republican Army (IRA) – an event known as the corporals killings – after they drove into the funeral cortège of IRA member Kevin Brady, who had been killed in the Milltown Cemetery attack. A photograph of his involvement in that incident became one of the starkest and most enduring images of the Troubles. Unknown until years later, Reid was carrying a letter from Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams to Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP) leader John Hume outlining Adams' suggestions for a political solution to the Troubles. [2] Adams later told the BBC in 2019 that Reid also advised U.S Ambassador to Ireland Jean Kennedy Smith during the peace process, stating "He (Fr Reid) was talking to her (Kennedy-Smith) on the side and she was talking to her brother Teddy (Kennedy)." [7]

After he moved to Dublin, Reid was involved in peace efforts in the Basque Country. 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. Reid and a Methodist minister, the Rev. Harold Good, announced that the IRA had decommissioned their arms at a news conference in September 2005. [8]

Reid was involved in controversy in November 2005 when he made comments during a meeting in Fitzroy Presbyterian Church concerning the Unionist community in Northern Ireland. [9] Reid said: "You don't want to hear the truth. The reality is that the nationalist community in Northern Ireland were treated almost like animals by the unionist community. They were not treated like human beings. They were treated like the Nazis treated the Jews". [10] [11] He later apologised, saying his remarks had been made in the heat of the moment. [2] In an interview with CNN, Reid said that "The IRA were, if you like, a violent response to the suppression of human rights". [12]

Awards

See also

Related Research Articles

Sinn Féin is an Irish republican and democratic socialist political party active in both the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland.

Gerry Adams Irish politician

Gerard Adams is an Irish republican politician who was the President of Sinn Féin political party between 13 November 1983 and 10 February 2018, and served as a Teachta Dála (TD) for Louth from 2011 to 2020. From 1983 to 1992 and from 1997 to 2011, he was an abstentionist Member of Parliament (MP) of the British Parliament for the Belfast West constituency.

The Northern Ireland peace process is often considered to cover the events leading up to the 1994 Provisional Irish Republican Army (IRA) ceasefire, the end of most of the violence of the Troubles, the Good Friday Agreement of 1998, and subsequent political developments.

Belfast West (UK Parliament constituency) Parliamentary constituency in the United Kingdom, 1922 onwards

Belfast West is a parliamentary constituency (seat) in the House of Commons of the UK Parliament. The current MP is Paul Maskey of Sinn Féin.

Martin Mansergh Irish politician and historian

Martin George Southcote Mansergh is an Irish former Fianna Fáil politician who served as Minister of State at the Department of Finance and Minister of State for the Arts from 2008 to 2011. He served as a Teachta Dála (TD) for the Tipperary South constituency from 2007 to 2011. He was a Senator for the Agricultural Panel from 2002 to 2007.

The murder of Robert McCartney occurred in Belfast, Northern Ireland, and was allegedly carried out by members of the Provisional Irish Republican Army. McCartney was the father of two children and was engaged to be married in June 2005 to his longtime girlfriend, Bridgeen Hagans. He was a Roman Catholic and lived in the predominantly nationalist Short Strand area of east Belfast, and was said by his family to have been a supporter of Sinn Féin.

Raymond "Ray" Smallwoods was a Northern Ireland politician and sometime leader of the Ulster Democratic Party. A leading member of John McMichael's South Belfast Brigade of the Ulster Defence Association (UDA), Smallwoods later served as a leading adviser to the UDA's Inner Council. He was killed by the Provisional Irish Republican Army (IRA) outside his Lisburn home.

Corporals killings

British Army corporals Derek Wood and David Howes were killed by the Provisional IRA on 19 March 1988 in Belfast, Northern Ireland, in what became known as the corporals killings. The undercover soldiers—wearing civilian clothes, both armed with Browning Hi power pistols and in a civilian car—drove into the funeral procession of an IRA member. Three days before, loyalist Michael Stone had attacked an IRA funeral and killed three people. Believing the soldiers were loyalists intent on repeating Stone's attack, dozens of people surrounded and attacked their car. During this, Corporal Wood drew his service pistol and fired a shot in the air. The soldiers were then dragged from the car and taken to a nearby sports ground where they were beaten, stripped and searched. They were then driven to a nearby waste ground where they were shot dead.

Denis Donaldson Northern Irish politician (1950-2006)

Denis Martin Donaldson was a volunteer in the Provisional Irish Republican Army (IRA) and a member of Sinn Féin who was killed following his exposure in December 2005 as an informer in the employ of MI5 and the Special Branch of the Police Service of Northern Ireland. It was initially believed that the Provisional IRA were responsible for his killing although the Real IRA claimed responsibility for his murder almost three years later. His friendship with French writer and journalist Sorj Chalandon inspired two novels: My Traitor and Return to Killybegs.

William Frederick Frazer was a Northern Irish Ulster loyalist activist and advocate for those affected by Irish republican violence in Northern Ireland. He was the founder and leader of the pressure group Families Acting for Innocent Relatives (FAIR). He was also a leader of the Love Ulster campaign and more recently, the Belfast City Hall flag protests. In 2019, from evidence gained in a Police Report, journalist Mandy McAuley asserted that the Ulster Defence Association had been supplied weapons, in the late 1980s, by the Ulster Resistance and that Frazer was the point of contact for those supplies. She asserted that multiple sources also confirmed this to be true. Those weapons were linked to at least 70 paramilitary murders.

Brendan McFarlane IRA member

Brendan McFarlane is an Irish republican activist. Born into a Roman Catholic family, he was brought up in the Ardoyne area of north Belfast, Northern Ireland. At 16, he left Belfast to train as a priest in a north Wales seminary. He joined the Provisional IRA in 1969.

Clonard Monastery

Clonard Monastery is a Catholic church and monastery, located off the Falls Road in Belfast, Northern Ireland, home to a community of the Redemptorists religious order.

Larry Marley Member of the Provisional Irish Republican Army

Laurence Marley was a Provisional Irish Republican Army (IRA) member from Ardoyne, Belfast, Northern Ireland. He was one of the masterminds behind the 1983 mass escape of republican prisoners from the Maze Prison, where Marley was imprisoned at the time, although he did not participate in the break-out. Marley was described by British journalist Peter Taylor as having been a close friend of Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams. Marley was shot dead by an Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) unit two years after his release from the Maze. His shooting was in retaliation for the killing of leading UVF member John Bingham the previous September by the Ardoyne IRA.

2005 United Kingdom general election in Northern Ireland

The 2005 United Kingdom general election in Northern Ireland was held on 5 May 2005 and all 18 seats in Northern Ireland were contested. 1,139,993 people were eligible to vote, down 51,016 from the 2001 general election. 63.49% of eligible voters turned out, down 5.1 percentage points from the last general election.

Springfield Road road in Northern Ireland

The Springfield Road is a residential area and road traffic thoroughfare adjacent to the Falls Road in west Belfast. The local population is predominantly Irish nationalist and republican. Parts of the road form an interface area with the neighbouring Ulster loyalist areas of the Greater Shankill and it was the site of much activity during the Troubles. The Springfield Road includes the Ballymurphy and New Barnsley districts and is overlooked by Black Mountain and Divis.

Andrew Kearney was a Belfast man who died as a result of a punishment shooting carried out by members of the Provisional Irish Republican Army (IRA).

Jean Kennedy Smith American diplomat and ambassador

Jean Ann Smith was an American diplomat, activist, humanitarian, and author who served as United States Ambassador to Ireland from 1993 to 1998. She was a member of the Kennedy family, the eighth of nine children and youngest daughter born to Joseph P. Kennedy and Rose Fitzgerald. Her siblings included President John F. Kennedy, Senator Robert F. Kennedy, Senator Edward M. Kennedy, and Special Olympics founder Eunice Kennedy Shriver. She was also the sister-in-law of Jacqueline Kennedy.

Harold Good is an Irish Methodist who in the first decade of the 21st century played a vital role in the Northern Ireland peace process.

Patrick Egan (Catholic priest)

Patrick Egan, C.Ss.R was an Irish Redemptorist priest, notable for being in charge of the Men's Confraternity in Clonard Monastery, Belfast, when the "Troubles" broke out in August 1969. He anointed those who were shot that day, and tried to stop a potential massacre of Catholics by calling in British troops. Fr Egan spent much of his time working as a priest in the Gaeltacht areas of the west of Ireland. He was a first cousin of Monsignor Brian Egan.

Leo Martin was a founder of the Provisional IRA in Belfast and a prominent figure in The Troubles.

References

  1. 1 2 "BBC News - Northern Ireland peace process priest Fr Alec Reid dies". BBC.co.uk. 22 November 2013. Retrieved 22 November 2013.
  2. 1 2 3 Peter Crutchley (31 August 2014). "IRA ceasefire 20 years on: The priest who brokered the peace". BBC news UK. Retrieved 31 August 2014.
  3. Peace process priest Alec Reid dies Nenagh Guardian, 22 November 2013.
  4. "Rev Alec Reid [ permanent dead link ]". Queen's University Belfast. Retrieved on 15 August 2008.
  5. Brother Brendan Mulhall. Father Alec Reid C.Ss.R. Archived 3 January 2006 at the Wayback Machine . Redemptorists Denver, 17 May 2006
  6. "Remembering Father Alec Reid" . Retrieved 2 January 2020.
  7. Simpson, Mark (1 February 2019). "Gerry Adams: New York in 1994 visit 'pivotal to peace'". BBC News. Retrieved 1 February 2020.
  8. Cullen, Kevin Maintaining belief in peace aided N. Ireland transformation. The Boston Globe, 27 September 2005.
  9. Unionists 'like Nazis', says priest. David Sharrock Ireland Correspondent. The Times (London, England), Thursday, 13 October 2005; pg. 17; Issue 68517
  10. Irish priest provokes fury with unionist 'Nazi' jibe Breaking News.ie, 13 October 2005.
  11. Unionist anger over Nazi remarks. BBC News, 13 October 2005. Retrieved on 9 August 2008.
  12. ETA Announces Ceasefire. CNN Transcript, 22 March 2006.
  13. "Tipperary Peace Convention". Tipperary Peace Convention. Retrieved 25 May 2015.
  14. Ralph Riegel (21 August 2013). "Mandela, Clinton and Geldof among the former winners". Irish Independent . Retrieved 25 May 2015.
  15. "2008 Peace Award & Annual Lecture – Harold Good & Alec Reid". The Gandhi Foundation. Retrieved 22 November 2013.
  16. Honour for Peacemaker Priest Archived 20 September 2008 at the Wayback Machine University of Ulster News Release, 4 July 2008