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Albert Reynolds

Albert Reynolds (born November 3, 1932) was the eighth Taoiseach of the Republic of Ireland from 1992 to 1994. He was first elected in 1977 and retained his Dáil seat until his retirement in 2002. Reynolds has served as Minister for Posts & Telegraphs (1979-1981), Minister for Transport (1980-1981), Minister for Industry & Energy (1982), Minister for Industry & Commerce (1987-1988) and Minister for Finance (1988-1991). He became the fifth leader of Fianna Fáil in 1992.

An Taoiseach Albert Reynolds, T.D
Rank: 8th Taoiseach
First Term: February 11 1992 - December 15 1994
Predecessor: Charles Haughey
Successor: John Bruton
Date of Birth: Thursday, November 3 1932
Place of Birth: Roscommon, Ireland
Profession: Businessman
Political Party: Fianna Fáil

Early Life

Albert Reynolds was born on 3 November 1932 in County Roscommon. He was educated in Sligo at Summerhill College. He became involved in dancehall promotion and also founded a pet-food company. He also had business interests in local newspapers and a cinema. He became interested in politics following the 'Arms Trial' of 1970 (which saw Charles Haughey and Neil Blaney acquitted of importing arms into the country illegally). Reynolds was an elected TD for Fianna Fáil in the party's landslide victory in 1977.

Early Political Life

He became a Minister under Charles Haughey, serving as Minister for Posts and Telegraphs (now called Communications) and Minister for Transport and Power. In 1987 Haughey became Taoiseach once again and Reynolds became Minister for Industery and Commerce. In 1988 he was promoted to the Minister for Finance. He resigned from the post in November 1991 following a failed attempt to oust Haughey as leader. The following year Haughey resigned as party leader and Albert Reynolds became the fifth leader of Fianna Fáil and Taoiseach.

Reynolds as Taoiseach

He presided over two cabinets;

1992: a Fianna Fáil-Progressive Democrats coalition, which collapsed over comments made by Reynolds in the witness stand during the Hamilton Inquiry into the Beef Industry about PD leader and longtime critic of Reynolds, Desmond O'Malley, TD. Fianna Fáil suffered one of its worst ever electoral results in the following general election. They were expected to go into opposition, but ended up to the electorate's surprise back in government, in a coalition arrangement with Labour under Dick Spring.

1992-94: The Fianna Fáil-Labour coalition proved a difficult arrangement. It finally collapsed following Reynolds' decision, in the face of outright Labour opposition, to appoint Attorney-General Harry Whelehan, to become President of the High Court. It was revealed that the Attorney-General's office had mis-handled an attempt to extradite a paedophile Roman Catholic priest, Fr. Brendan Smyth. Reynolds was forced to go before Dáil Éireann and indicate that if he had known 'then' what he "knew now" about the incompetent handling of the case by the AG's office he would not have appointed Whelehan to the judicial post. However it was not enough. Labour resigned from government. Reynolds resigned as party leader and was replaced by his Minister for Finance, Bertie Ahern (Ahern became leader after Máire Geoghegan-Quinn withdrew from the leadership contest). But Ahern's attempts to form a new government failed, with Labour joining with two opposition parties, Fine Gael and Democratic Left, to form a new government.

In office, perhaps Reynolds' biggest achievement was in the Northern Peace Process, where he played a crucial role in securing an IRA ceasefire.

Post-Taoiseach Period

In 1997, Reynolds, at the urgings of Ahern (who was now Taoiseach) agreed to seek the Fianna Fáil nomination for the presidency, which had become vacant following Mary Robinson's resignation. However Reynolds was humiliatingly beaten for the nomination by the Pro-Vice Chancellor of Queens University, Belfast, former Fianna Fáil general election Mary McAleese. McAleese went on to win the 1997 presidential election.

Reynolds retired from Dáil Éireann in the 2002 general election.

Cabinet February 1992 - December 1994

Political Career

Preceded by:
Pádraig Faulkner
Minister for Posts & Telegraphs
Succeeded by:
Patrick Cooney
Preceded by:
George Colley
Minister for Transport
Preceded by:
Michael O Leary
Minister for Industry & Energy
Succeeded by:
John Bruton
Preceded by:
Michael Noonan
Minister for Industry & Commerce
Succeeded by:
Ray Burke
Preceded by:
Ray MacSharry
Minister for Finance
Succeeded by:
Bertie Ahern
Preceded by:
Charles Haughey
Leader of the Fianna Fáil Party
Succeeded by:
John Bruton

Last updated: 11-06-2004 06:59:15