Tributes have been paid to Seamus Pattison, one of Ireland's longest serving TDs and former Ceann Comhairle in the Dáil, who has died aged 81.

Mr Pattison died following a long illness.

Mr Pattison served as a Labour TD for Carlow-Kilkenny for almost 50 years until he stepped down in 2007.

He served two Dáil terms as Ceann Comhairle and was for a long time "Father of the House".

He was also a Minister of State in the Department of Social Welfare and was Leas Ceann Comhairle.

He also served as an MEP.

President Michael D Higgins paid tribute to Mr Pattison, praising the former Ceann Comahirle for his "sharp political brain", and said he will miss his "effortless charm and infectious sense of humour".

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said Mr Pattison was well respected and represented his constituents for nearly five decades with distinction.

Labour party leader Brendan Howlin said the former Carlow-Kilkenny TD was a stalwart in the parliamentary Labour Party, and was generous both with his time and advice, adding that he "represented the best of an old Labour tradition".

Seamus Pattison is survived by his brothers Joseph, Michael and Monsigeur Francis Pattison in San Diego.

Ceann Comhairle Seán Ó Fearghaíl said: "Seamus was a man of the utmost integrity and brought a quiet and unassuming gravitas to the chair of Dáil Éireann.

"His extraordinary achievement of representing his beloved Kilkenny since 1961 showed his affinity for the local people he represented while never losing sight of the national and international responsibilities he carried out with such distinction, particularly during his tenure as Ceann Comhairle," said Mr Ó Fearghaíl.