Veteran environmental campaigner and former Dublin Lord Mayor Sean Loftus has died.

Mr Loftus passed away in the Mater Private Hospital at 1.15am this morning. He had been ill for about three months.

He was involved in campaigns to preserve Dublin Bay and changed his name to Sean Dublin Bay-Rockall Loftus.

The former TD and councillor was also involved in the campaign to preserve Wood Quay in the 1970s.

The Taoiseach has spoken of his sadness at the death of Mr Loftus.

Brian Cowen said: 'Sean Loftus was a proud Dubliner who devoted a large part of his life topreserving the natural heriage of our capital city.

'He was an environmentalist long before that word entered the mainstream political lexicon and he was a committed conservationist at all times motivated by the public good'.

Minister for the Environment John Gormley, who served as Dublin Lord Mayor before Mr Loftus, said he was a man of deep principle and conviction.

He said: 'I am deeply saddened by the news of the passing of Sean Dublin Bay Loftus. I have known Sean for a very long time and we worked together on Dublin City Council.

'Sean was a gentleman, always kindly and encouraging and a true environmental pioneer. He led the way even before the Green Party came into existence.

'Sean never wavered in his pursuit of the highest environmental ideals. He was a man of deep principle and conviction and he will be sadly missed by all those who care passionately about the environment.'

Fine Gael Leader Enda Kenny described the former Dublin Lord Mayor as a man of considerable conviction and a pioneering environmental campaigner.

Dublin Lord Mayor Gerry Breen, a fellow member of the group Dublin Bay Watch, said: 'As a Dubliner and a councillor, Sean has fought for the protection of Dublin Bay over the past 40 years against threats such as an oil refinery, underground gas caverns and infills of the inner bay.

'When the latest attempts to infill the bay started in 1999, a small group of volunteers gathered around Sean and Dublin Bay Watch was formed.'

Mr Loftus is survived by his wife Una, children Muireann, Fiona and Ruairi and a number of grandchildren.