14 March 2006

Peace activist priest is to receive Tipp honour

Daily Ireland


Image Hosted by ImageShack.usBelfast-based priest, Fr Alex Reid, who witnessed IRA arms being decommissioned last year, is to be named Tipperary Person of the Year.
Fr Reid, who played a long-time role in the Northern peace process since the 1980s, will receive the honour from the Tipperary Association in Dublin next month.
Association chairman Michael Fenton said Nenagh native Fr Reid has been acclaimed both at home and abroad for his pivotal role as a peacemaker.
Fr Reid is believed to have brought former SDLP leader John Hume and Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams together for dialogue in the late 1980s.
Based in Belfast’s Redemptorists’ Monastery in Clonard, Fr Reid witnessed the violence and suffering caused to both sides in the conflict. His initiatives with the Hume/Adams talks led initially to the 1993 Downing Street Declaration and eventually to the Good Friday Agreement in 1998.
Fr Reid worked through this period with the Irish government’s representative Dr Martin Mansergh, now a senator.
Methodist Minister Reverend Harold Good and Fr Reid were asked to witness the decommissioning of IRA arms in September 2005. However, a month later he had to apologise for remarks he made at a public meeting comparing unionists to Nazis. He had said that unionists had politically persecuted Catholics in the North for more than 60 years.
The Hall of Fame award will also be presented to Monegall native, former GAA President Seamus O’Riain.
Both men will be presented with their awards at the annual dinner of the Tipperary Association in Dublin, on April 21.

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