Taoiseach's statement in full:
I want to take this opportunity to wish Dermot Ahern well on his decision not to contest the next General Election.
Dermot Ahern has been a close colleague of mine for many years. He is one of the most able, experienced and hard-working politicians of his generation.
In a distinguished career, Dermot has made a huge contribution to Government in a range of ministries, as Government Chief Whip, as Minister for Social, Community and Family Affairs, as Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources, as Minister for Foreign Affairs and Minister for Justice and Law Reform.
I served with Dermot in the Governments of Albert Reynolds and Bertie Ahern and saw at first hand the strong contribution he made to Government in particular in his work on the Irish Peace Process from its inception and his role as Envoy for the UN Secretary General.
As Taoiseach, it was my pleasure to appoint him Minister for Justice and Law Reform. In this Department, Dermot has been a reforming minister who has carried out his duties with great ability and commitment to the public good. He has been an innovative Minister for Justice with many achievements including the recent ground-breaking anti-gangland legislation.
I am pleased that Dermot Ahern will continue on in the Department of Justice to finish his programme of work up until the election. I know that in the period ahead he will continue to serve the Irish people and his constituents with the same high level of commitment and conscientiousness that has defined his entire career in politics.
I wish Dermot and his family all the very best today and for the future.