Northern Ireland civil rights activist and former Dublin TD Austin Currie has died at the age of 82.
His family say he died peacefully in his sleep at his home in Derrymullen, Co Kildare.
He was one of the founding members of Northern Ireland's SDLP - along with John Hume and Gerry Fitt.
Paying tribute, SDLP leader Colum Eastwood says Currie "worked every single day to dismantle injustice and unfairness wherever he saw it".
"We have lost another SDLP giant who will be sorely missed. My thoughts are with his wife Annita, Emer and their family", he says.
Austin Currie was an activist who worked every single day to dismantle injustice and unfairness wherever he saw it and make Ireland a better place for us all. We have lost another SDLP giant who will be sorely missed. My thoughts are with his wife Annita, Emer and their family. pic.twitter.com/qFIDu3Vxwe
— Colum Eastwood (@columeastwood) November 9, 2021
The Co Tyrone native served as a Dublin-West Fine Gael TD from 1989 until his retirement in 2002.
He was also a Minister of State in the 1994 to 1997 rainbow coalition.
He is survived by his wife Annita and children Estelle, Caitriona, Dualta, Austin and Emer.
His family say his decision to squat a council house in Caledon in June 1968 is "widely seen as the beginning of the civil rights movement".
"From Edendork in County Tyrone to the bog of Allen, Daddy was most at home with his beloved Annita and his family, surrounded by newspapers and grandchildren.
"We will miss him deeply", a statement adds.
Tánaiste Leo Varadkar says he was "deeply saddened" to hear of his death.
"A pioneer of the civil rights movement in Northern Ireland, Austin was one of the outstanding politicians of his generation, highlighting discrimination against nationalists in issues like housing with a famous sit-in protest at Caledon.
"He helped to organise one of the first civil rights marches in Northern Ireland, and went on to co-found the Social Democratic & Labour Party with John Hume and Gerry Fitt", Mr Varadkar says.
"I knew Austin as a brave, courageous, and principled man. He was blessed with extensive political insight and boundless humanity.
"Above all he cared most about bringing peace to this island by peaceful means, something he worked towards throughout his political career, and was vehemently opposed to political violence", he adds.