Founding member of the Irish Gay and Lesbian Equality Network (GLEN), Christopher Robson, has died following a short illness.

Tributes have been paid to the well-known gay rights activist.

“Christopher Robson was a huge force for wide-ranging social progress and the achievement of civil rights in Ireland over more than 30 years,” GLEN said in a statement, following his death on Saturday.

“He successfully lobbied the Irish Government to ensure that the EU Amsterdam treaty included lesbians and gay men in its equality provisions, on which much of the European anti-discrimination legislation is based.”

Mr Robson had been involved in several equality and civil liberties campaigns, since the 1980s. A founding member of the Dublin Lesbian and Gay Men’s Collective, he helped to establish Gay Health Action – Ireland’s first group to respond to the AIDs crisis.

“Chris was a great leader in our remarkable journey from criminals to civil marriage in a relatively short period of time; from decriminalisation in 1993, equality legislation in the late 1990s, civil partnership in 2010, and now strong moves towards civil marriage and constitutional equality,” said GLEN chairman Kieran Rose.

“Chris was brave, principled and passionate; to be an open gay activist in the 1980s was not easy,” added Mr Rose.

“We had few friends and supporters in those days, and many powerful enemies; but Chris put himself on the line because he believed that discrimination and oppression was inhuman and that each person had a responsibility to take action where they could.

“We will greatly miss his warmth, his humour and his passionate and inspiring commitment to social justice.”