Brian Cowen has praised the "political bravery" and "wisdom" of former Taoiseach Albert Reynolds, who has died.
Speaking today (Thursday), Mr Cowen said Mr Reynolds' political bravery and wisdom were the key ingredients in fostering a new dispensation of peace, tolerance and reconciliation, mutual respect and equality on this island.
"For that he will always have the enduring respect of the Irish people," he said.
"I knew Albert to be loyal, to be supportive and to be generous," the former Taoiseach from Offaly continued. "It was a great privilege for me to work with him and I will always be grateful for his trust and faith in me, particularly in appointing me to the cabinet for the first time in 1992."
Mr Cowen also described Mr Reynolds as "a statesman who had a simple objective, to end violence and to set in train a framework for inclusive and exclusively democratic politics across the entire island of Ireland".
"He was the driving figure in bringing about the Downing Street Declaration, which laid firm foundations for peace to be built," he said. "The other great triumph of negotiation from Albert’s time as Taoiseach was the IRA ceasefire in 1994 which was closely followed by a Loyalist cessation. This changed the entire dynamic of our island and so much of this is down to Albert Reynolds perseverance."
Mr Cowen also praised Mr Reynolds as a family man, and extended his sympathies to his wife Kathleen and children Miriam, Philip, Emer, Leonie, Abbie, Cathy and Andrea.