Sadness at sudden death of 'legal colossus'
Tributes flow after loss of 'great legal mind of our time'
The President has led tributes to the late Supreme Court judge Mr Justice Adrian Hardiman, who died suddenly at his home in Dublin.
Michael D Higgins described him as "one of the great legal minds of his generation".
Mr Hardiman, who had sat on the Supreme Court for 16 years, passed away unexpectedly in the early hours of yesterday morning at the age of 64.
He is survived by his wife, former Circuit Court judge Yvonne Murphy, and their three sons.
A former Fianna Fáil election candidate and founder member of the Progressive Democrats, he was considered one of the country's foremost legal figures.
He had a distinguished career which saw him appointed straight from the bar to the nation's highest court at the relatively young age of 48.
President Higgins said Mr Hardiman had excelled as a law student and as a debater and student leader at UCD and immediately established a reputation as a gifted advocate and orator from the very earliest stages of his career as a barrister.
He said Mr Hardiman had made an immense contribution to the development of Irish law.
"The depth and rigour of his legal analysis has been matched by the eloquence and clarity of his judgments.
"A strong voice on the court, he has been rightly recognised as a particularly passionate defender of civil liberties and of individual freedoms," said President Higgins.
Taoiseach Enda Kenny said he was shocked and saddened by Mr Hardiman's death.
"Adrian had a long and illustrious legal career and was one of the great minds of our time," said Mr Kenny.
"As well as his enormous contribution to our judicial system, he had a love of our language, a huge interest in history and politics and was also a published writer and broadcaster."
The Supreme Court sat briefly yesterday to commemorate their late colleague.
All nine remaining Supreme Court judges were on the bench, but the seat where Mr Justice Hardiman normally sat was left empty.
The Chief Justice, Ms Justice Susan Denham, said the State had lost "a colossus of the legal world".
Tributes were also made by Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald, Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin, and the chairman of the Bar Council David Barniville.