The reception, held at the Irish Embassy in London, was to thank those who contributed to ‘peace, reconciliation and the establishment of stable self-government in Northern Ireland’, said Mr Cameron.
Your work has provided immeasurable benefit to our peoples over the past 25 years. By contributing to peace, reconciliation and the establishment of stable self-government in Northern Ireland. But also through the remarkable development of relations between us as a whole. Brian Cowen was one of the first world leaders I called when I arrived in No 10. And I am determined that we should continue to build on the legacy established by those at the lunch today, and that our two governments should work in the closest possible co-operation.
In Northern Ireland, we must both work together on our common aims of upholding the agreements and institutions, and protecting all our people from the efforts of those few who refuse to acknowledge the overwhelming wish for peace.
More widely, we must address together the challenges that face us, bilaterally, in the EU and beyond.
Those present today - and a number who sadly cannot be there - deserve our enormous gratitude for the work they did.
We must remember of course that they worked with some people of remarkable courage and vision outside government. But their own leadership and skill was of the highest order, and our states were fortunate to have such people serving them.
I send my profound good wishes and thanks to all.