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Justice minister Ahern to retire at next election

The Louth TD will step down having succumbed to a “painful medical condition”, after serving for 24 years.

Image: Niall Carson/PA Archive

Updated 12.02

JUSTICE MINISTER Dermot Ahern is to retire from politics at the next general election, it has been announced.

Ahern – a TD for the Louth constituency – told local radio station LMFM that he would not be running in the next general election, after falling victim to rheumatoid arthritis – which, he said, required him to take “heavy medication”.

On the advice of his doctors, and on consultation with his family, he had therefore decided not to seek re-election to the Dáil.

He had decided with his family that the 2007 general election would be his last, and had told Taoiseach Brian Cowen of his decision in October 2009. He had notified his cabinet colleagues of his decision this morning, he added.

Ahern told RTÉ’s Today with Pat Kenny this morning that he had intended originally to announce his retirement over Christmas, but had decided to bring his announcement forward given the onset of a general election in the spring.

Ahern was first elected to the Dáil in February 1987, having already been a member of Louth County Council for eight years to that point, and served as Chief Whip before serving as Minister in the departments of Social Affairs, Communications and Foreign Affairs.

He was appointed as Minister for Justice in May 2008, after a cabinet reshuffle following the retirement of Bertie Ahern as Taoiseach and the subsequent appointment of Brian Cowen.

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His retirement means that only one of Louth’s four current TDs, at maximum, will be running at the next election. The four-seat constituency gains an extra seat at the next election, but Ceann Comhairle Seamus Kirk will be automatically returned.

With the retirement of Sinn Féin TD Arthur Morgan and now of Ahern, only Fine Gael’s Fergus O’Dowd will be running as an incumbent.

LMFM local radio also reports this morning that former Ceann Comhairle Rory O’Hanlon – a Fianna Fáil TD for Cavan-Monaghan – is set to retire at the next election.

About the author:

Gavan Reilly

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