Former government minister Bobby Molloy dies aged 80
Tributes have been paid to Bobby Molloy, former government minister and founding member of the Progressive Democrats, who has died.
Mr Molloy was first elected to the Dail as a Fianna Fail TD for Galway West in 1965 and went on to represent the constituency until he resigned and quit politics in 2002.
Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin said he was a man of great personal warmth with an outstanding career.
"Bobby had an outstanding and distinguished political career and proudly served the people of Galway West for many years as both a TD and minister," he said.
"Bobby was a man of great personal warmth, integrity and purpose."
Mr Martin was a cabinet minister alongside Mr Molloy in 1997 and praised his work on homelessness.
"He brought a distinct focus and energy to the issue, and the interdepartmental approach that he adopted to tackle homelessness was a particularly successful strategy in its time," he said.
Mr Molloy was 80.
He left Fianna Fail for the newly-created Progressive Democrats in 1986 in what he described as the toughest decision of his life.
His 37-year political career ended on a low when he wrote a letter to the then justice minister on behalf of the sister of a rapist to inquire if the convicted abuser had to be in jail prior to sentencing and pending an appeal.
Mr Molloy quickly resigned his ministerial position and quit politics, stating the letter was "nothing sinister or dishonest" but that it was a "human error of judgement".
Taoiseach Enda Kenny said: " Bobby gave a long and dedicated service in many ministries and he was always a tireless campaigner for his native Galway.
"I got to know Bobby well during his time in the Dail and I extend my deepest sympathy to his wife Phyllis and to their family."
Mr Molloy is survived by his widow, his sons Donnacha and Dara and his daughters Saoirse and Sorcha.
President Michael D Higgins, who represented Galway West with Mr Molloy, said his Dail colleague made a huge contribution to Irish public life.
"Throughout his career, he gave excellent service over several decades and his name is recalled with great affection throughout the constituency," he said.
"His life in politics began before mine, and on every platform he served he delivered his contribution, which was always well informed, with great distinction.
"A close friend of Desmond O'Malley, he was one of the founding members of the Progressive Democrats. He earned the respect of both his supporters and opponents because of the integrity with which he held his views."