On his first full day as prime minister, John Bruton set aside personal animosities to welcome the leader of the IRA's political allies to a peace forum Friday.

"I'm glad to see you here today. I'm sure you want to see peace as much as I do," Bruton told Sinn Fein Party leader Gerry Adams as the two shook hands for the first time since Bruton's was elected leader of a three-party coalition government Thursday.It was a gesture calculated to reassure Adams, who needs support from Dublin to keep the Irish Republican Army truce on track. Bruton said the two would meet more formally before Christmas.

As an opposition leader, Bruton had been a scathing critic of IRA violence and a skeptic about his government's quick embrace of Sinn Fein following the Sept. 1 cease-fire.

Bruton, 47, has a record of sympathy for Northern Ireland's pro-British Protestants, who have borne the brunt of IRA violence. His Fine Gael Party, the largest of the coalition partners, traces its roots to the side that accepted partition of Ireland, then fought a civil war with those, like today's IRA, who want a united Ireland.

Friday's session of the Forum for Reconciliation and Peace focused on the U.S. role in rebuilding Northern Ireland.