Leo Varadkar leads tributes to former Fine Gael Minister Austin Deasy who died after short illness
Former Fine Gael TD and minister Austin Deasy has died aged 80.
Mr Deasy was a TD for his native county of Waterford from 1977 until his retirement in 2002.
He was appointed minister for agriculture in 1982 by then Taoiseach Garret FitzGerald and served in cabinet until 1987.
His son, John Deasy, followed him into politics and is a sitting TD for Waterford.
Austin Deasy died in Waterford Regional Hospital after a short illness.
He is survived by wife Kathleen and his children John, Sally, Jane and Jamie.
- Read More: John Deasy - A life in brief
New Fine Gael leader Leo Varadkar has led tributes to Mr Deasy.
Statement by Leader of Fine Gael, Minister Leo Varadkar
"I wish to convey my deepest sympathies to the Deasy family on the news that Austin Deasy has passed away.
"Austin had a long career in public service, first entering politics in 1967 on Dungarvan District Council.
"He went on to serve in the Cabinet, Dáil and Seanad, and was well loved and respected by the people of Waterford whom he was proud to represent, and of the course the people of Dungarvan which is my mother's home town.
"I met Austin on a number of occasions. The one that stands out though was one afternoon almost twenty years ago when he came to speak to us as students in the Trinity Branch of Fine Gael. He argued that Fine Gael needed to be distinctive in terms of policy and have a clear mission and raison d'être in order to secure support and bring the country forward. It's advice that has stuck with me ever since.
"My thoughts are with Austin's wife Kathleen; daughters Sally and Jane; sons Jamie and John, who carries on the proud Deasy tradition of public service today in the Dáil."