Father Alec Reid, a key figure in the Irish peace process, has died.

He was the first to bring together Gerry Adams and John Hume, two nationalist leaders bitterly opposed to each other, in what became known as the Hume/Adams dialogue.

The negotiations were held at Clonard Monastery in Belfast and were hugely significant to the ultimate success of the peace process. Reid was a native of Tipperary and he continued to play a leading role throughout the process.

He died in a Dublin hospital on Friday, aged 82.

Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams said the Clonard monastery, Fr Reid's base in west Belfast during the Troubles, was "the cradle of the peace process."

"I feel deeply saddened. I have not absorbed it yet. I knew him for the last 40 years," he said.

"He was also a very good friend of mine, of my wife, of my family.

"What Alec Reid did was, he lived the gospel message. He developed a view which was contrary to the official view, that there had to be dialogue, and he was tenacious."

Northern Ireland Secretary of State Theresa Villiers, stated: "I heard with sadness of the death of 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."

SDLP leader Alasdair McDonnell said: "His death reminds us that we haven't quite reached completion in terms of the peace process and we must redouble our efforts to achieve a lasting settlement."