President Michael D Higgins has paid tribute to John Lewis, one of the leading figures in the US civil rights movement, who has died at the age of 80.
Mr Lewis, a Democratic congressman, was the youngest and last survivor of the Big Six civil rights activists, a group led by Martin Luther King Jr.
He was best known for leading some 600 protesters in the Bloody Sunday march across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama in opposition to racial segregation.
Recounting the Bloody Sunday confrontation, Mr Lewis said: "Selma is a place where we injected something very meaningful into our democracy.
"We opened up the political process and made it possible for hundreds and thousands and millions of people to come in and be participants.
"Our goal was true freedom for every American. Since then, America has made a lot of progress.
'We are a different society than we were in 1961. And in 2008 we showed the world the true promise of America when we elected President Barack Obama."
Mr Lewis won his seat in Congress in 1986 and spent much of his career in the minority.
Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi confirmed Mr Lewis's death yesterday evening, calling him "one of the greatest heroes of American history".
President Higgins said that Mr Lewis "leaves an enduring legacy not only in the US, but globally".
He said: "His was a life filled with meaning that sought and promoted inclusion.
"The world was a better place for having him in it, and may his legacy live on."
Not many of us get to live to see our own legacy play out in such a meaningful, remarkable way. John Lewis did:https://t.co/KbVfYt5CeQ
— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) July 18, 2020
The former US president Barack Obama also paid tribute to Mr Lewis.
Mr Obama said: "He loved this country so much that he risked his life and his blood so that it might live up to its promise.
"And through the decades, he not only gave all of himself to the cause of freedom and justice, but inspired generations that followed to try to live up to his example.
"Not many of us get to live to see our own legacy play out in such a meaningful, remarkable way. John Lewis did."
Additional reporting by IRN