Political writer and barrister Noel Whelan has died.

He was a leading figure in the campaign to introduce same-sex marriage.

The 50-year-old passed away yesterday after a short illness.

He is survived by his wife Sinead and son, Séamus.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar paid tribute on social media, saying the country had lost a friend.

“So sad to hear that Noel Whelan has passed away,” Mr Varadkar wrote on Twitter.

“We come from different party backgrounds but I feel this morning like Ireland has lost a friend.

“Such a sharp intellect. So articulate and effective on marriage equality.”

Minister for Social Protection, Regina Doherty, hailed Mr Whelan as “a thorough gent.”

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