Inside a ramshackle paint shop on Dublin's North Strand in 1989, Cathal Goulding reflected on the republican movement's split 20 years earlier.
Musing on the subsequent decades of carnage and futility in the north, the former IRA chief of staff came out with a memorable line.
Grumpy because his leg was in plaster, Goulding thumped the table where his limb was propped up on a pillow and boomed: "We were right too soon, Adams is right too late and Ruairi O'Bradaigh will never be f*****g right!"
Although Goulding was right about some of the important things he might have been a bit too unkind to O'Bradaigh.
The two men had agreed to be interviewed, along with Joe Cahill, in a three-part series on the implications of the 1969-70 schism in republicanism.
In his interview, O'Bradaigh made a number of predictions which, from the benefit of hindsight, turned out to be prophetic.
The then-president of Republican Sinn Fein predicted that, after what he called "Free State Sinn Fein" took their seats in Leinster House, they would eventually sit in a northern assembly with partition still in place; the IRA campaign would be abandoned and the goal of a united Ireland would not be achieved.
At the time, O'Bradaigh was painted as a bitter Cassandra by his ex-comrades in Sinn Fein who, dismissed his claims as nonsense.
Yet, if we examine his outline of Sinn Fein's constitutional future, then his fears have been realised.
The party he left signed up to two political agreements, endorsed massively by the electorate on the island, which have - to use an old phrase - underpinned the 'unionist veto'.
The IRA campaign ended without even a British declaration of intent to withdraw.
Mainstream republicans have, in their new outreach programme, become 'persuaders' of the need for Irish unity.
And now another former IRA chief of staff is about to shake hands with the Queen. Clearly, if you live long enough - as O'Bradaigh has - you really do see everything.
Gerry Adams has sought to portray the Martin McGuinness-Queen Elizabeth handshake as, in reality, a handshake with unionists. To a certain extent, that is true. However, the real significant strategic gains to be made for Sinn Fein in relation to the Royal encounter are south of the border.
There were many memorable moments to last year's tour by the Queen and Prince Philip across the Republic.
Think of a thirsty-looking Duke of Edinburgh almost licking his lips at the sight of a master barman pouring the perfect pint of the black stuff at Guinness's St James's Gate brewery. Or the Royal couple being given a hurling stick and sliotar at Croke Park.
These events were eclipsed by the laying of a wreath and a single polite nod to the republican war dead inside Dublin's Garden of Remembrance. The nod signified, in many ways, the end of Anglo-Irish hostility.
There could, though, have been one more image that would have trumped the Garden of Remembrance moment; one that would resonated around the world.
Instead of failing to turn up to the Royal hooley, Sinn Fein could have stolen the limelight. A handshake between Martin McGuinness and the Queen would have had major ramifications across the Republic.
Although the party is enjoying a high level of support during the seemingly never-ending economic crisis in the south, it has still not captured enough backing and confidence among the most critical band of the electorate.
'Middle Ireland' is middle-class, economically conservative, increasingly socially liberal, robust in its support for the Garda and Irish Defence Forces, fiercely patriotic, yet vehemently opposed to violence and terrorism. It was this segment of voters that baulked at backing McGuinness for president last autumn and for decades, was repelled by the IRA's campaign.
As was evident during the presidential election, Sinn Fein had not fully detoxified itself in the minds of enough of Middle Ireland. Had Sinn Fein bitten the bullet last year and allowed leading figures like McGuinness to join with other southern political leaders to greet the Queen, who knows how much of that old revolutionary edge to the party would have been made more palatable to Middle Ireland.
On the radical fringes of republicanism, Sinn Fein has already come under sustained attack for agreeing to tomorrow's historic handshake. Yet the party has lived with criticism from this quarter for some time without suffering any tangible political or electoral damage.
None the less, for O'Bradaigh and all the other republican recalcitrants, the handshake will be, for them, their Animal Farm moment: the instant when the animals look over to see their former comrades - the pigs - supping with the humans and where the betrayed beasts of the farmyard cannot tell one from the other.