The Taoiseach, Bertie Ahern, the Fine Gael leader, John Bruton and former Taoiseach Liam Cosgrave have paid tribute to the former Fine Gael Minister, Paddy Donegan who died today. The former TD for County Louth was 77-years-old and had been ill for some time. He is survived by his wife, Olivia, his sons Tommy and Vincent and his daughters, Roseanne and Annette.

Mr Donegan was at the centre of a controversy, when serving as Minister for Defence in 1976, he called the President, Cearbhall O’ Dálaigh, words equivalent to "a thundering disgrace", after the President referred legislation to the Supreme Court. The then Taoiseach, Liam Cosgrave, refused to sack his minister and President O’Dálaigh resigned.

Today, the Fine Gael leader John Bruton said that Mr Donegan was one the best Ministers for Defence this country has ever had. He added that he had a deep affection for all those who served, at all ranks, in the armed services and this greatly assisted their morale at the time of great challenge.

The Taoiseach Bertie Ahern said he served the people of Louth with distinction in Dáil Éireann for over 27 years and his passing will be mourned by the many people who worked with him.

His funeral will take place in Monasterboice on Tuesday.