In tonight’s TV3 documentary, the Redemptorist priest Alec Reid hails Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams as being “sent by God”.
Fr Reid, who died last week aged 82, played a key role in the peace process as a go-between between the IRA and leading political figures.
During the recently recorded interview, he said: “I’d say he’s the most capable politician we have and the other politicians mightn’t like that, but I’d say he’s one of the most capable politicians in Europe.
“I would say that Gerry Adams was a man sent by God, in other words he was part of God’s providence for peace in Ireland.”
The US government has paid a tribute to the well-known cleric.
In a statement, the US Consulate paid tribute to his “moral courage” and said he had helped lay the foundations for the ongoing peace process.
“Fr Reid spent four decades at Clonard Monastery in west Belfast and witnessed the worst of the Troubles.
“A photograph of him smeared in blood and kneeling over the body of a murdered British soldier in 1988 became one of the most iconic images from the conflict.”
The US government statement continued: “Those close to Fr Reid can be proud of his role, and his legacy offers a profoundly powerful inspiration to all of us.”
Northern Ireland Secretary Theresa Villiers paid her own tribute to Fr Reid.
“We all owe a debt of gratitude to him for the role he played in the peace and reconciliation process in Northern Ireland,” she said.
A mass at Dublin’s Marianella Chapel will be held today before the cortege makes its way to Belfast ahead of the funeral service at Clonard on Wednesday.