He spent 34 years as a TD in a career marked by clashes and coalition with Charlie Haughey.
The former Minister and founder of the Progressive Democrats passed away at the age of 82.
The Taoiseach has described Des O'Malley as a towering figure in Irish life.
Former Roscommon TD, Senator and Junior Minister Terry Leyden has also joined in the tributes to the late Des O' Malley today.
Saddened to hear of the passing of Des O’Malley. He was a true statesman. I had the honour of serving with him as Min. Trade and Marketing in the Dept of Industry and Commerce 1989-1992. He was the lost leader of Fianna Fáil. He had great vision. RIP #desomalley https://t.co/V5bXUTXeRx pic.twitter.com/rV0lJk2ANC
— Terry Leyden (@TerryLeydenRos) July 21, 2021
The former FF politician served as Junior Minister in the same department as the PD leader during the FF/PD coalition government of the early 90's.
Terry Leyden says above all his senior colleague was very generous in his attitude towards sharing duties in the department:
The people of Limerick first elected Des O'Malley as a TD in 1968. He was then returned to the Dáil on eleven consecutive occasions.
O'Malley served as Justice Minister in 1970 in the wake of the Arms Crisis. That crisis saw the sacking of one Charlie Haughey.
His tussles with Haughey down the years would define much of his career.
He took a hardline with the IRA. As Justice Minister he introduced the juryless Special Criminal Court to tackle jury intimidation.
In 1985 Des O'Malley founded the Progressive Democrats. Four years later he returned to cabinet, making Haughey break the long held position that Fianna Fáil would never enter coalition.
He stepped back from leadership of the PDs after that Government before leaving political life in 2002.