Labour TD Brendan Ryan has announced that he will not contest the upcoming general election in Dublin Fingal.
A snap election is expected to be called within days for a date possibly as early as February, but Deputy Ryan, 66, said he had decided to stand down and pass the baton to a younger candidate.
The vote puller said his decision was influenced by the strong performance of Labour Cllr Duncan Smith in the November by-election to fill MEP Clare Daly’s seat.
In a statement Deputy Ryan said: “I spoke to all our councillors after the May local elections and told them I had no desire to hold any of them back if they wished to take the next step and run for the Dail.
“The recent by-election presented an opportunity for the next generation to come through, and our candidate Cllr Duncan Smith showed the strength of the Labour Party in Dublin Fingal.
“I am confident that we can hold our Labour seat in a general election with a new candidate and because of that I believe the time is now right for the transition to the next generation.”
Ryan was first elected to the Dail in 2011 when Labour reached 37 seats and was one of just seven Labour TDs to retain their seats in the February 2016 general election.
Party leader Brendan Howlin thanked him for his years of service adding: “I fully appreciate this was a difficult decision for him to reach.
“For over a decade, Brendan Ryan has been a stalwart of the Labour Parliamentary Party and I want to acknowledge his years of service in his constituency, work he will continue to carry out up until this Dail is dissolved.”
A selection convention will now be held to choose a Labour candidate for Dublin Fingal, though Swords-based Cllr Smith is thought to be the front runner.
Deputy Ryan concluded: “It has been a great privilege and honour for me to represent the people of Dublin Fingal in Dáil Éireann for nearly nine years now, and in Seanad Éireann from 2007 to 2011.
“I want to thank my constituents and friends for their support over that time and I am very grateful for the trust they placed in me over three general elections.
“It was a momentous period of time that saw great change and upheaval across the political spectrum and I am proud to have played my part in that as a Labour Party representative.
“I will be campaigning to ensure Fingal elects a new Labour TD, and we will do that as a united team. I will then return to being an activist.”