The vision of former Taoiseach Albert Reynolds, who is in the â€˜very late stagesâ€™ of Alzheimerâ€™s, has been praised as events were staged to mark the 20th anniversary of the Downing Street Declaration.
Mr Reynoldsâ€™ son Philip told Shannonside Radio that his father now requires 24-hour care, and he is unable to have conversations with people.
Signed on December 15, 1993, by Mr Reynolds and then British Prime Minister John Major, the Downing Street Declaration marked a new beginning in Anglo/Irish relations and it paved the way for the August 1994 IRA ceasefire and the 1998 Good Friday Agreement.
At a commemorative event in Iveagh House, Sir John Major (70) said he and Albert Reynolds (81) risked their careers in 1993.
Mr Major visited Mr Reynolds and he paid tribute to him, â€œAlbert, I see you too rarely these days, but think of you often. I am proud to call you a friend.â€
He added, â€œIf Albert and I upset our supporters, we might, as Albert cheerily said, â€˜be kicked outâ€™. That was true, but the IRA supporters were more deadly than our backbench colleagues, and their leaders were taking risks too.â€
The audience included Mr Reynoldsâ€™s wife Kathleen, their daughters, Emer, Andrea and Cathy, and their son, Philip.
Philip, who didnâ€™t rule out the prospect of seeking election in the future, said of his father, â€œRight now heâ€™s pretty bad. He has 24-hour care.â€
He added, â€œA sure sign of that is when you see that my mum was representing him last week. It was difficult to get my mum to come to the Temperance Hall or the Mall( in Longford town) when he was elected.
â€œTo get her to go out front and represent him says everything about how he is himself. If he had been any way well enough, he would, of course, have been there.â€
At a selection convention in the Longford Arms Hotel, Dara Calleary TD remarked, â€œThe enormous significance of the Downing Street declaration may have been lost in the passage of time. However, without it, the subsequent peace process would not have been the success it is and without Albert Reynolds there would have been no declaration.â€
TÃ¡naiste Eamon Gilmore said, â€œMr Reynolds built a trust between an Irish Taoiseach and a British Prime Minister that was rare if not unique up to that point. In doing so, they created something indispensable.â€