President Michael D Higgins has paid tribute to the late Irish musician Paddy Moloney, praising his "extraordinary skill as a instrumentalist" and crediting him with "bringing a greater appreciation of Irish music and culture internationally".

It was announced on Tuesday that the founder and leader of The Chieftains had died aged 83.

In a statement, the President said: "The Irish music community, and indeed the much larger community throughout the world who found such inspiration in his work, will have learnt with great sadness today of the passing of Paddy Moloney, founder and leader of the Chieftains.

"Paddy, with his extraordinary skills as an instrumentalist, notably the uileann pipes and bodhrán, was at the forefront of the renaissance of interest in Irish music, bringing a greater appreciation of Irish music and culture internationally."

He continued: "Not only as a consummate musician himself, but as a founder member of Claddagh Records together with Garech de Brún, he brought a love of Irish music not just to the diaspora, but to all those across the world who heard his music and appreciated it for its own sake as it transcended all musical boundaries.


Read more:
Imelda May remembers Paddy Moloney as a 'legend' and a 'thoroughly lovely man'
Paddy Moloney remembered - classics from the RTÉ Archives


"His work as a producer was a contribution of great integrity, undertaken to promote the music itself at a time when the commercial benefits of doing so were limited. His legacy will remain with us in the music which he created and brought to the world."

The statement concluded: "On behalf of Sabina and myself, and on behalf of the people of Ireland, I would like to express my deepest condolences to Paddy's family and friends, and in particular his wife Rita and his children Aonghus, Pádraig and Aedín."