Nuala Fennell, the former Fine Gael Minister of State for Women's Affairs, has died aged 73.

Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny in a statement tonight said that: 'during her time as an advocate for women's rights and as an elected politician for Dublin South, she worked tirelessly on behalf of those she represented and was an outstanding role model for all women.'

He said that Ms Fennell was a leading member of the 'dynamic group of new women Fine Gael politicians who entered the Dáil in the early 1980s'.

Minister for Health Mary Harney expressed her condolences to the Fennell family. She said Ms Fennell was 'a terrific role model who had encouraged women to be involved in politics'.

Ms Fennell was appointed the first Minister for Women's Affairs and Family Law in Garret Fitzgerald's Government of the 1980s.

She was first elected to the Dáil for the Dublin South constituency in 1981 but lost her seat in the election in 1987.

She was nominated to the Seanad in February 1987 and subsequently regained her Dáil seat in 1989. She retired from politics in 1991.

Ms Fennell is survived by her husband Brian with whom she had three children.