Charlie Flanagan, former Fine Gael minister and TD, has said he will not contest the next general election.
He becomes the latest in a growing list of Fine Gael TDs due to retire at the end of the current Dáil term.
In a statement on Monday, Mr Flanagan said he was making the announcement at the end of the Laois-Offaly constituency and the reconfiguration of two new county constituencies.
“I wish to signal my intent to step back from front line politics and will not be contesting the next general election,” he said.
“It is now 36 years since I was first elected to Dáil Éireann. Between my father Oliver J and myself that’s 80 years of public service and 23 General Elections. In my view now it’s time to pass the baton to a younger generation.”
Throughout a long political career Mr Flanagan held senior ministerial portfolios including foreign affairs, justice and children and youth affairs.
Noting his more memorable contributions, Mr Flanagan referenced the negotiation of the Stormont House Agreement and Fresh Start Agreement in Northern Ireland and his time at foreign affairs during Brexit and Ireland’s success in securing a seat at the UN Security Council.
He has also acted as Fine Gael’s party chair, chief whip and director of elections. On announcing his pending retirement he thanked the “thousands of men and women” across Laois-Offaly who had helped sustain his career.
“Politics is an ever demanding and increasingly high pressure career,” he said.
“The volatile nature of social media has added significantly to the helter skelter and often chaotic workload of a TD. But having spent all my adulthood doing this job there’s no doubting that being a political representative connects you daily to the very lifeblood of the country.”
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said Mr Flanagan held one of the most successful electoral records in the Dáil having won eight elections.
Noting his various accomplishments, Mr Varadkar counted among them Ireland’s ratification of the Istanbul Convention combating violence against women and domestic violence.
However, Mr Flanagan’s departure will mount further pressure on Fine Gael in the next general election. In recent times, Dublin TD Richard Bruton, Carlow-Kilkenny TD John Paul Phelan, Kerry TD Brendan Griffin, Cork East TD David Stanton and Cork Northwest TD Michael Creed have confirmed they will not seek re-election.
As for Mr Flanagan’s seat, Fine Gael councillors Conor Bergin, Barry Walsh, Thomasina Connell, PJ Kelly and local election candidate Vivienne Phelan are all considered to be in the mix for the ticket which is expected to be keenly contested.