Sligo-Leitrim TD Tony McLoughlin has announced his retirement from politics.
The Fine Gael Deputy has said that he will not be seeking re-election at the next General Election, bringing the curtain down on a political career which has spanned five decades.
McLoughlin was first elected to Sligo County Council in 1974 and served four terms as mayor of the municipal district and has been a TD for the Sligo-Leitrim consituency since 2011.
McLoughlin said: “I wish to announce publicly that I will not be seeking re-election to Dáil Éireann at the next General Election.
“I have reached this difficult decision with a heavy heart as it has been the privilege of a lifetime to have served the people of Sligo – Leitrim in the Dáil since 2011.
“After almost 45 years in public office, I believe that the time is now right for me to begin to step away from politics in order to spend more time with my family and my wonderful grandchildren whose support down through the years has been incredible.
“I made a commitment to my family and my close supporters that after the last General Election in 2016 that I would not seek re-election again and I am sticking to this promise. I have given a lot of my life to public service, and I am now looking forward to what the next chapter brings.
“My career in politics began when I was elected to Sligo County Council in 1974 and I have had the privilege to have been returned to serve the people at every election since and to have served as Mayor of Sligo on four occasions and Chairman of Sligo County Council on two occasions.
“Throughout my career, both locally and on national issues, I have always tried my very best, always fought for what was right for my constituents and always did so in a respectful manner.
“The large amounts of support I have received from the general public at election time has been one of the proudest aspects of my career. On that basis, I want to thank the people of Sligo and Leitrim. I am honoured to have served you.
“As a humble backbencher, I will leave office safe in the knowledge that I am leaving a constituency that has improved massively from where it was after the recession in 2011 and with its future development secured as a part of Ireland 2040, I leave with a strong record of delivery for my constituents and also with an ‘Act of the Oireachtas’ on the Statute book.
“It has been an absolute privilege to work in the Fine Gael parliamentary party and with the local constituency in Sligo – Leitrim. My colleagues in Fine Gael are the hardest working people I know and I wish An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and all the Fine Gael team the very best in their good work for this country and their future endeavours. This country faces many challenges in the future but I know for a fact we have the best team at the helm.
“I will continue to represent my constituents in the way I always have, with hard work and integrity, until the current Dáil ends,” he concluded.