"It is with great sadness that I have learned of the passing of Richard Burke, former European Commission Vice President, yesterday at the age of 83.
Richard Burke was a great European, who contributed significantly to the European project both in his homeland and across the European continent.
His work as European Commissioner for Transport, Taxation, Consumer Protection and European Parliament Relations and as Vice-President of the European Commission will be long remembered.
Some great initiatives have been introduced during his time at the Commission, notably the infrastructure plan for Europe, the Green Paper on the TGV, the Channel Tunnel linking the UK and France and the development of the then European Communities' budget.
Richard Burke also played an outstanding and central role in Irish public life, campaigning for Ireland to join the European Economic Community in 1973 and contributing to the modernisation of the Irish education system when he was Minister for Education.
Richard Burke was a true and devoted European, who believed in Europe as much as in his own country and whose progressive thinking and actions inspired many of us.
My thoughts are with his family at this time."