John Major and Bertie Ahern among mourners at Albert Reynolds' funeral mass
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John Major and Bertie Ahern among mourners at Albert Reynolds' funeral mass

POLITICIANS, business figures and dignitaries today turned out in their hundreds to pay their final respects to former Taoiseach Albert Reynolds at his funeral mass in Dublin.

The requiem mass was held at mid-day today (August 25) at the Sacred Heart Church in Donnybrook in Dublin and was also attended by Mr Reynolds extended family, friends and supporters.

Mr Reynolds died last Thursday aged 81 after a long illness.

Among the mourners was former British prime minister John Major who described Mr Reynolds as a "remarkable friend".

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Former taoiseach Bertie Ahern and Brian Cowen greeting at the Church of the Sacred Heart in Donnybrook for the removal of of former Taoiseach Albert Reynolds. (Photocall Ireland/GIS) Former taoiseach Bertie Ahern and Brian Cowen greeting at the Church of the Sacred Heart in Donnybrook for the removal of of former Taoiseach Albert Reynolds. (Photocall Ireland/GIS)

Taoiseach Enda Kenny, President Michael D Higgins and several serving and past politicians were also in attendance.

Pope Francis sent a telegram of condolence which was read out at the mass by Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin.

The pontiff recalled "with gratitude the late Taoiseach's efforts to promote peace and reconciliation in Ireland."

Mr Reynolds, who is survived by his wife Kathleen, two sons and five daughters, was buried with full military honours at Shanganagh Cemetery in south Dublin.

Kathleen Reynolds and her sons Albert (left) and Phillip with the Reynolds family arriving at the Church of the Sacred Heart in Donnybrook for the removal of of former Taoiseach Albert Reynolds. (Photocall Ireland/GIS) Kathleen Reynolds and her sons Albert (left) and Phillip with the Reynolds family arriving at the Church of the Sacred Heart in Donnybrook for the removal of of former Taoiseach Albert Reynolds. (Photocall Ireland/GIS)
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Mr Reynolds's daughter Andrea read a reflection while his son, Philip, gave the eulogy saying:

"Few of us will ever bend the course of history, but our collective efforts can make this a better place. How successful he was in his life is for others to judge. To us it doesn't matter, he was just simply brilliant."

Fr D'Arcy praised Mr Reynolds's as a peacemaker with a sincere interest in breaking the cycle of political violence in Northern Ireland long before he came to power, saying, "His motives were ure."

Martin McGuinness and John Major at the funeral mass of former Taoiseach Albert Reynolds (Photocall Ireland/GIS) Martin McGuinness and John Major at the funeral mass of former Taoiseach Albert Reynolds (Photocall Ireland/GIS)

"Albert thought deeply about violence. He knew peace is more than absence of war but he knew that peace could not take root until the violence stops," Fr D'Arcy said.

"For him peace was the only battle worth waging. He knew that peace was not achieved only by talking to your friends, you must talk to your enemies and make peace with them."

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Former Taoiseach Brian Cowen and John Bruton greeting eachj other at the Church of the Sacred Heart in Donnybrook for the removal of of former Taoiseach Albert Reynolds. (Photocall Ireland/GIS) Former Taoiseach Brian Cowen and John Bruton greeting eachj other at the Church of the Sacred Heart in Donnybrook for the removal of of former Taoiseach Albert Reynolds. (Photocall Ireland/GIS)

Eimear Quinn, Red Hurley, Paddy Cole and the Palestrina Choir are among the singers and musicians who participated in the ceremony.

Figures from politics across Ireland were in attendance including former SDLP leader and Nobel prize winner John Hume, Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams, and Northern Ireland Secretary of State Theresa Villiers.

Other former taoisigh at the service included Brian Cowen and John Bruton, while former president Mary McAleese also attended the mass.