World

Irish unite for funeral of Albert Reynolds, premier who championed peace in Northern Ireland

  • FILE- File photo dated Wednesday, Sept. 7, 1994, U.S. Vice President Al Gore, left, stands with Irish Prime Minister Albert Reynolds at Shannon Airport, Ireland.  Albert Reynolds, the straight-talking Irish prime minister who played a key role in delivering peace to Northern Ireland but struggled to keep his own governments intact, died Thursday Aug. 21, 2014, after a long battle with Alzheimer’s disease. He was 81. (AP Photo/Martin Cleaver, FILE)

    FILE- File photo dated Wednesday, Sept. 7, 1994, U.S. Vice President Al Gore, left, stands with Irish Prime Minister Albert Reynolds at Shannon Airport, Ireland. Albert Reynolds, the straight-talking Irish prime minister who played a key role in delivering peace to Northern Ireland but struggled to keep his own governments intact, died Thursday Aug. 21, 2014, after a long battle with Alzheimer’s disease. He was 81. (AP Photo/Martin Cleaver, FILE)  (The Associated Press)

  • FILE - In this file photo dated Dec. 3, 1993, Britain's Prime Minister John Major, left, and Irish Prime Minister Albert Reynolds during a press conference in Dublin, Ireland. Albert Reynolds, the straight-talking Irish prime minister who played a key role in delivering peace to Northern Ireland but struggled to keep his own governments intact, died Thursday Aug. 21, 2014, after a long battle with Alzheimer’s disease. He was 81. (AP Photo/Dave Caulkin, FILE)

    FILE - In this file photo dated Dec. 3, 1993, Britain's Prime Minister John Major, left, and Irish Prime Minister Albert Reynolds during a press conference in Dublin, Ireland. Albert Reynolds, the straight-talking Irish prime minister who played a key role in delivering peace to Northern Ireland but struggled to keep his own governments intact, died Thursday Aug. 21, 2014, after a long battle with Alzheimer’s disease. He was 81. (AP Photo/Dave Caulkin, FILE)  (The Associated Press)

Generations of Irish leaders have united at the Dublin funeral of Ireland's peacemaking former prime minister, Albert Reynolds.

The 81-year-old Reynolds died Thursday after a long battle with Alzheimer's disease. Monday's requiem Mass brought together many political rivals from past Republic of Ireland governments and the Northern Ireland peace process.

In front of Reynolds' flag-draped coffin, former British Prime Minister John Major chatted with former Irish Republican Army commander Martin McGuinness, today the deputy leader of Northern Ireland's power-sharing government. Seated nearby were Irish President Michael Higgins, Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny and Ireland's four surviving ex-prime ministers.

Reynolds worked closely with Major in 1993 to forge the Downing Street Declaration, a peace plan for Northern Ireland that inspired an IRA cease-fire and marathon peace negotiations in the British territory.