Irish centre-right Fianna Fáil politician, Taoiseach (prime minister) 1992–94. His administration had three key achievements: Irish referendum approval of the Maastricht Treaty on a closer European Union in June 1992; a six-year development plan to ‘transform Ireland’, launched in October 1993; and a joint peace initiative with UK prime minister John Major to resolve the Northern Ireland problems, the December 1993 Downing Street Declaration. The Declaration led to a ceasefire by both the Irish Republican Army (IRA) and the loyalist paramilitaries in 1994. However, in November 1994 the coalition government fell apart, when Labour withdrew support. Reynolds resigned as Fianna Fáil leader and Taoiseach and a Fine Gael, Labour, and Democratic Left coalition government was formed, with John Bruton as Taoiseach.
He had been industry and commerce minister 1987–88 and finance minister of 1988–91 in the Fianna Fáil government led by Charles Haughey. He replaced Haughey as party leader and Taoiseach in January 1992, after Haughey's resignation following a phone-tapping scancal. After an inconclusive general election in November 1992, Reynolds formed a coalition government with Labour.
Reynolds was born in Rooskey, County Roscommon, and qualified as an accountant by correspondence course. He embarked on a business career, developing a successful pet-food company, before entering the political arena.
In 1977 he became a member of the Irish parliament, representing Fianna Fáil, and was minister for posts and telegraphs (1979–81), minister for transport (1980–81), minister for industry and energy (1982), minister for industry and commerce (1987–88), and minister for finance (1988–91). In 1997 he failed in an attempt to be elected to succeed Mary Robinson as Irish president, and in 2002 retired from the Irish parliament.
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