The death has been announced of the Dublin actor Jer O'Leary, best known for his stage role as union leader James Larkin and as Easter Rising leader Thomas Clarke in Neil Jordan's film Michael Collins.

The Irish Times reports that the actor, who was in his 70s, died suddenly over the Christmas holiday.

A balladeer, folklorist and activist, O'Leary was best known for his role as James Larkin in Jim Sheridan and John Arden's 1975 Dublin stage production The Non-Stop Connolly Show.

He went on to make his film debut in Sheridan's feature directorial debut, My Left Foot, and also worked with the director on The Field, In the Name of the Father, The Boxer, In America and Get Rich or Die Tryin'.

He also worked with Michael Collins director Neil Jordan on The Butcher Boy, and his other film credits included This Must Be the Place, Disco Pigs, Angela's Ashes and Braveheart.

On television, O'Leary had roles in Game of Thrones, Penny Dreadful and Ballykissangel. He also starred in the Michael Lavelle-directed short film Flow, which is available to watch on the RTÉ Player, and reprised his role as James Larkin on a number of occasions for special events.

Paying tribute, the trade union SIPTU described him as an "activist who made an immense contribution to the culture of trade unionism in Ireland through his artistic endeavours". 

The Irish Times reports that Jer O'Leary is predeceased by his wife Eithne, son Diarmuid and brother Denis. The paper says he is survived by daughters Norah and Clare and by his sisters Margaret and Carmel.

There have been many tributes on social media: