President Michael D Higgins has paid tribute to Fr Enda McDonagh, theologian and former professor of moral theology at Maynooth University, who has died at the age of 90.
Fr McDonagh was a native of Bekan, near Ballyhaunis and was educated at St Jarlath's College, Tuam and at Maynooth, and was ordained a priest of the Tuam Archdiocese in 1955.
He was subsequently awarded a doctorate in divinity and canon law, and taught for 40 years at Maynooth University, becoming an influential and liberal theologian in the Catholic Church, supporting the end of apartheid, as well as women's rights and Travellers' rights- his views were often at odds with the Catholic hierarchy..
He wrote a number of books and articles on theological topics, and was also the official chaplain to Mayo's Mary Robinson during her Presidency.
President Michael D Higgins said news of his death will have been heard with the greatest sadness and sense of loss by all his friends, students and listeners at the many events he attended.
President Higgins described Fr McDonagh as a person of courage, and extended his condolences to Fr Enda's family and the people of Mayo of who he was so fond, as well as his colleagues and friends.
Fr McDonagh passed away yesterday at St Vincent's Hospital in Dublin.
His funeral arrangements are not yet available.