30/11/2010

Dermot Ahern Steps Down From Dáil

The Minister for Justice and Law Reform, Dermot Ahern, has revealed he will not be seeking re-election to the Dáil in the next election.

Citing a "painful" medical condition as reason for his decision, Mr Ahern said there was never a good time to make such a decision and that he did so in the knowledge there were many people in the party who would be able to "take up the battle" and represent Fianna Fail.

"I am announcing my decision today not to contest the forthcoming general election. I have informed my local party organisation in County Louth that, after 32 years as a public representative, I am stepping down at the next general election. I also informed Cabinet colleagues this morning."

Mr Ahern said that after the 2007 general election he came to the decision with his family that that election would be his last. "In October, 2009, I informed the Taoiseach of my intention. I confirmed that decision with him last weekend," he said.

"In the last 18 months I have been diagnosed with a painful medical condition necessitating heavy medication. I have been advised that a change in my pace of life is essential in coping with this condition."

The Justice Minister said he was deeply grateful to the people of Louth for their support over the past three decades.

Mr Ahern served as a councillor for 12 years, a TD for 24 years and a Minister for over 13 years. "It has been a great honour and privilege to serve the people of Louth as a Fianna Fail public representative at Council, Dail and Cabinet level."

Mr Ahern who is a solicitor by profession has served as a public representative since 1979.

His past roles have included Minister for Social, Community and Family Affairs; Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources; and Minister for Foreign Affairs.

"I believe in the upcoming generation; well educated, energetic and enthusiastic. I believe they deserve the opportunity to contribute. As a nation we face major challenges. I firmly believe in the spirit and resilience of our people. I believe in our country."

(DW/KMcA)

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