Wednesday saw the loss of a true giant of Irish politics with the passing of Des O’Malley, aged 82.

Steeped in politics, he contested the Dáil by-election for the seat of his uncle Donagh, following the death in 1969 of the man who gave us free education.

Appointed Justice Minister in 1970, he had the burden of handling the governments response to the Arms Trial.

He and Charlie Haughey never recovered their relationship, and following his expulsion from Fianna Fáil in 1985, he founded the Progressive Democrats in 1985.

Four years later, he joined Haughey and Fianna Fáil in a coalition that shocked the nation but that functioned well.

However, when Albert Reynolds became Taoiseach in 1992, and when Reynolds and O’Malley’s evidence to the Beef Tribunal around the export refund guarantees given to Larry Goodman could not be reconciled, the government fell.

Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam.