Albert Reynolds

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Albert Reynolds (born 4 November 1932), served as Taoiseach (prime minister) of Ireland, serving one term in office from 1992 until 1994.[1] He was the fifth leader of Fianna Fáil during the same period.

Reynolds was first elected to Dáil Éireann as a TD for Longford–Westmeath in 1977, and was re-elected at each election until his retirement in 2002. He previously served as Minister for Finance (1988–91), Minister for Industry and Commerce (1987–1988), Minister for Industry and Energy (1982), Minister for Transport (1980–81) and Minister for Posts and Telegraphs (1979–81).

Contents

Early life

Albert Reynolds was born in Roosky, County Roscommon on 4 November 1932. He was educated at Summerhill College in County Sligo, and found work as a clerk in the 1950s with Córas Iompair Éireann (CIÉ), the state transport service. Reynolds left what many would consider to be a "job for life" in the state company and moved into the showband scene, owning a number of dance halls in his local area. He became wealthy from this venture during the 1960s when dance halls proved extremely popular and invested his money in a number of businesses including a pet food company, a bacon factory, a fish exporting operation and hire purchase company. Reynolds also had business interests in local newspapers and a cinema. Although his dance hall empire required late nights Reynolds was a traditional family man and had a happy home with his wife Kathleen and their seven children. Reynolds abstained from alcohol. He developed a network of business contacts both nationally and internationally.

Early political career

Reynolds became interested in politics at the time of the Arms Crisis in 1970, a hugely controversial episode in modern Irish history which saw two Cabinet ministers, Neil Blaney and Charles Haughey, sacked from the government over an alleged attempt to import arms to Northern Ireland. The two men were subsequently acquitted in court but Reynolds then decided to embark on a political career. Reynolds stood as a Fianna Fáil candidate at the 1977 general election for the Longford–Westmeath constituency.[2] The election was a landslide victory for Fianna Fáil, with the party receiving a twenty-seat parliamentary majority. Reynolds was just one of a number of TDs elected to Dáil Éireann on that day, however, at 44 years of age Reynolds was considered a late starter.

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