POLITICIANS have paid tribute to TD Nicky McFadden who has died following a battle with motor neurone disease.
Taoiseach Enda Kenny led the condolences, saying she was beginning a new life away from the pain she had endured.
Praising the Longford-Westmeath TD, he added: "That she passed away on the feast of the Annunciation is somehow appropriate because today she begins her new life, free of the suffering that marked her last months on Earth."
Mr Kenny, who visited the Fine Gael politician last Friday, also told how she would be remembered as a person of great passion.
"Nicky was a woman of great joy and I know she will bring that joy with her to her new life, her new place."
And he offered her family his best wishes, saying: "I send my deepest sympathy to her children, Caren and Eoin."
Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin, President Michael D Higgins, Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore and Minister for Social Protection Joan Burton also praised the 51-year-old.
President Higgins paid tribute to her bravery.
"She made an outstanding contribution as a Senator and Deputy and showed immense courage in continuing her public service after having been diagnosed with a serious illness," he said.
Mr Gilmore, meanwhile, credited her strength and energy. "Nicky was a great colleague," he said.
"She was somebody who brought a sense of joy to this House, somebody in whose company it was always a pleasure to be, somebody who always had a positive outlook on life and on politics."
Minister Burton echoed the tribute, describing Ms McFadden as a "wonderful woman".
She said: "Nicky had a long, proud record of campaigning on a range of local and national issues, from employment to education and social housing,
"And she was an extremely respected and popular member of the Dail."
Ms McFadden last year spoke of her shock at being diagnosed with the disease. She promised to press ahead with her public duties, but her children admitted the news "devastated" them.
The politician entered the Dail in the 2011 General Election, having served in the Seanad previous to that.
The former medical secretary and ESB employee was also a member of Westmeath County Council from 1999.