Former minister and one of the founding members of the Progressive Democrats Bobby Molloy has died at the age of 80.

Mr Molloy was first elected to the Dáil as a Fianna Fáil TD for Galway West in 1965.

He served as minister for local government, minister for defence and minister for energy during an almost 40-year term in Leinster House.

Mr Molloy served as a TD for the Progressive Democrats from the party's formation in 1986 until he retired from political life in 2002.

"I have heard with great sadness of the death of Robert (Bobby) Molloy with whom I shared the honour of representing the people of Galway West," said President Michael D Higgins.

"Bobby Molloy made a huge contribution to Irish public life as a member of several cabinets. The constituency he represented was one of the largest in the country, containing Ireland's largest Gaeltacht, the Aran Islands and Inishbofin.

"Throughout his career, he gave excellent service over several decades and his name is recalled with great affection throughout the constituency," said Mr Higgins.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny said: "Bobby gave a long and dedicated service in many ministries and he was always a tireless campaigner for his native Galway." 

"I got to know Bobby well during his time in the Dáil and I extend my deepest sympathy to his wife Phyllis and to their family," added Mr Kenny.

Fianna Fáil Leader Micheál Martin also expressed his condolences.

Mr Martin said: "Bobby was a man of great personal warmth, integrity and purpose. Having worked with him during [the] 1997 cabinet, I had the opportunity to witness first hand his singular focus on the issue of homelessness.

"He brought a distinct focus and energy to the issue, and the interdepartmental approach that he adopted to tackle homelessness was a particularly successful strategy in its time," said Mr Martin.