Taoiseach pays tribute to Dempsey
Taoiseach Brian Cowen paid tribute to his Cabinet colleague Noel Dempsey, describing him as hard-working and effective.
"He has made a huge contribution to Irish politics and he has been a reforming minister who has never allowed vested interests or tough decisions get in the way of doing the right thing," the Taoiseach said.
Mr Cowen said Mr Dempsey was a friend and colleague and a straight-talking, respected colleague around the Cabinet table, forceful in his contribution and a loyal supporter of Government decisions.
"His work for the Fianna Fail party under successive leaders has been deeply appreciated by all," he said.
"Noel Dempsey is a man of great sincerity and decency. I value his friendship immensely. It has been a pleasure to work with him down through the years.
"Noel has been a stalwart of the Fianna Fail Party for over half his life. He is a very active and dedicated party man who is always quick to step up and get the job done no matter what. I know he will continue to remain active in the party.
Mr Demspey was first elected in 1987 and has served as Minister for the Environment, Education and Science, Communications, Marine and Natural Resources and Transport.
He was also a key negotiator in Programmes for Government.