SINN Fein leader Gerry Adams arrived with a smile on to the plinth at Leinster House to lavish praise upon Madiba, but left with a scowl after having to defend his comments about IRA murder.
For more than 10 minutes, Mr Adams sought to highlight the similarities between the Irish Republican movement and Nelson Mandela and the ANC.
But it was his use of the phrase "laissez faire" earlier this week to describe the attitude of the two RUC officers, Harry Breen and Bob Buchanan, murdered by the IRA in 1989, which forced Mr Adams to spend the next 10 minutes on the back foot.
He refused to answer questions, he attacked those seeking to "lecture him" and accused them of not knowing their history. He was certainly not smiling by the time he left.
"It was never my intention to ever cause hurt to anyone," he began.
But what about the hurt caused by your remarks, he was asked. "I don't need any lectures from anyone. The nonsense of suggesting that I was blaming these men for their own deaths, that was never in question."
Mr Adams said it was his view the RUC officers were doing their duty as they saw it, and it was also his view the "IRA volunteers were doing their duty as they saw it".
He was then asked did the IRA have a duty to shoot Mr Breen as he waved a white handkerchief? "I am not going to, with respect, answer that. The war is over."
Asked was his justice spokesman Padraig Mac Lochlainn correct in saying those IRA chaps had a duty to kill those officers, Mr Adams said: "Again I am not going to answer. I have said my piece and you can continue to pull on the thread if you wish."