As Taoisigh go Albert Reynolds was not the worst. Mind you, this half compliment is greatly diluted when we reflect on the long list of criminals, chancers and buffoons who have held that office.
There is truth in the claim that Reynolds made a significant contribution to peace in Northern Ireland but then again that particular building is becoming more overcrowded than the GPO in 1916 – over three million at last count I believe.
In functional democracies, when former Prime Ministers die, there is usually a respectful response with a lowered emphasis on the negative aspects of the office holder.
In Ireland history is immediately and comprehensively rewritten and the man/woman is instantly elevated to sainthood. This is an instinctive/automatic reaction that ensures the fog of denial that envelopes our failed state is maintained.
So when a criminal like Haughey or a chancer like Ahern (oh wait, he’s not dead – yet.) dies they ascend on high without a stain on their character, or, at the very least, we’re assured that history will be kind to them.
The media and in particular RTE play a major role in this rewriting of history.
For example, consider the following quote from Sean O’Rourke talking about his memories of Reynolds and his family and ask yourself the question – Would you trust the objectivity of O’Rourke if he was the producer of a documentary on the life of Albert Reynolds?
It was an extraordinary experience to go into that family home. They got on so well and they all were so affectionate towards each other.
Clearly they worshipped him and they were so well reared and so well behaved.
I remember meeting them, I think they were all teenagers at the time in the late 70s, early 80s.