Taoiseach Bertie Ahern said he was shocked to learn of the sudden death of Eamon Leahy SC.
The Taoiseach said: “Eamon was a leading member of the Irish Bar and one of the foremost criminal lawyers of his day.
“I know that his colleagues in the legal profession are deeply saddened at his passing and have paid many tributes to his skills.”
Mr Ahern said the lawyer was a man of “great public spirit” who took an active interest in the welfare of his community.
He said his humour, compassion and decency endeared him to everybody who came into contact with him.
Labour Chief Whip Emmet Stagg sent his party’s condolences to Minister Mary Hanafin and Mr Leahy’s family and colleagues.
He said: “It is with great shock and sadness that we learned of this tragic loss.
“Eamon was a highly-respected lawyer and commentator and his death leaves a huge void in Irish legal life.”
In a statement the Irish Bar Counsel said: “The Bar Counsel is extremely saddened to hear of the sudden death of Eamon Leahy.
“He was a distinguished barrister and a great colleague and will be sorely missed.”