Albert Reynolds

Portrait of Albert Reynolds

President of Ireland
August 1, 1985 - August 1, 1991

Predecessor Liam Cosgrave
Successor John Bruton

Leader of the Conservative Party
October 8, 1980 - August 1, 1985

Predecessor Robert Helms
Successor Fred Keanny

TD, Southeast Dublin
October 1967 - August 1, 1985

Predecessor John Bellard
Successor Patrick Ellersby
Born November 3, 1932
Spouse Kathleen Reynolds
Political Party Conservative
Profession Businessman, politician

Albert Reynolds (born November 3, 1932; died August 21, 2014) was the __th President of Ireland, serving a single term from 1985-1991, and the first member of the Conservative Party to hold that position since Michael Collins, and the first non-Progressive politician to win an election since Aidan Bair. Reynolds won the 1985 Irish presidential election on the second ballot as the champion of a resurgent right, and contributed to victories for the Conservatives and Christian Democrats in the 1985 and 1988 general elections.

A relative moderate, Reynolds introduced a markedly different economic policy from the Progressives, privatising many state-owned enterprises while pouring government money into the Macnair car company, leading to the late-1980's Irish manufacturing boom. Under Reynolds, Ireland moved towards a free-market capitalist economy such as the one it had had in the 1940's and early 1950's prior to Great Movement reforms and the Progressive economic agenda. Reynolds also reintroduced mandatory conscription to Ireland and made it a goal for Ireland to produce its own military hardware in order to reduce its reliance upon important weapons technology from France.

While popular for most of his six-year term, Reynolds was seen as grossly overstepping the boundaries of international protocol when he demanded forced repayments of Icelandic assets following the 1989 Icelandic sovereign default, a move which many on both the right and left of Irish politics criticized as a move of appeasement for the banks and to unnecessarily flex Irish military muscles. When the showdown eventually turned into the Icelandic War and the bombing of the Dail occurred, Reynolds' popularity nosedived with only a year before his reelection, exarcebated by a recession, and he was defeated in the 1991 Irish Presidential election by John Bruton.

Reynolds decided against challenging Bruton in 1997 and instead retired, and in retirement has become a sought-after public speaker both in Ireland and abroad. His admittance that low-yield tactical nuclear weapons were considered for use in the Icelandic War in 2000 settled the long-standing conspiracy theory and greatly changed historians' views of him for the worse. Reynolds was a critic of the Ahern administration's handling of the 1998-99 Irish financial crisis and blamed Labour appointments to the Central Bank of Ireland for the liquidity problems. Reynolds lived in Dublin until his death in 2014.