The death has taken place of the former chief executive of the IDA, Barry O'Leary.

He was 71 years old.

Mr O’Leary retired from the overseas investment agency in 2014 after nearly four decades working for it, six of which were spent as CEO.

He joined the IDA in 1976, having worked in a number of roles in different companies, including Nestle and Smurfit Group.

Between 1983 and 1991 he worked for the IDA in Germany.

Following the restructuring of the agency in the early 1990s, he returned to Germany again in 1995 to run the IDA offices in Stuttgart and Dusseldorf.

He later became director of Europe and was closely associated with winning major investments from companies such as SAP, Deutsche Bank, Lufthansa, Allianz and more.

In 2002 he returned to Ireland and was appointed divisional manager pharmaceuticals and biopharmaceuticals.

He also took up a position on the IDA’s executive.

Two years later he took on additional responsibilities for sectors including life sciences and information and communications technology and is credited among other things with helping to build the strong biopharma industry here.

He was appointed CEO designate of the agency in 2007, taking over at the start of the following year at what was a difficult time for Ireland as the global financial crisis unfolded.

Despite this, the IDA under Mr O’Leary’s stewardship continued to win record levels of investment, laying the foundations for the recovery of the Irish economy.

Mr O’Leary retired in 2014 but subsequently served as a director of a number of other firms including Targeted Investment Opportunities, Zurich Insurance and Citibank Europe.

During his time at the IDA he also served on the board of Forfás.

Mr O’Leary is survived by his wife Mairéad and sons Ciarán and Barry.

Paying tribute the current IDA boss, Martin Shanahan, said Mr O'Leary's work epitomised public service and he made a huge contribution to the IDA and the State.

"Barry fought tirelessly to win investment for Ireland throughout his extensive career and examples of the projects he was influential in winning are dotted across the country to this day," said current IDA chief executive, Martin Shanahan.

"I was always impressed by his passion for IDA and the job that he was doing and his singular focus on winning investment for Ireland."

"I am conscious that the success in winning investment that IDA Ireland enjoys today is built on those that went before and Barry contributed a huge amount to the foundation that IDA is now built on."