Veteran Fianna Fail TD Sean Ardagh to quit politics
FIANNA Fail TD Sean Ardagh became the latest veteran politician to announce his retirement last night in a further blow to Brian Cowen.
Mr Ardagh returned to work two months ago after winning a six-month battle with cancer.
The Dublin South-Central TD made a full recovery from non-hodgkin lymphoma -- a cancer of the white blood cells.
After serving as a councillor in Dublin since 1986, Mr Ardagh was first elected as a TD in 1997.
Last night, the 63-year-old said his health had not been the main reason behind his decision to stand down.
"I still have to get a bit of energy back. But that wasn't a significant element in my decision," he said.
"It's time that new people with fresh ideas come in. The constant demand that are on you and from the public generally take its toll," he said.
Mr Ardagh had chemotherapy and stem-cell transplants after a recurrence of an illness from which he had previously suffered during the 2002 General Election.
Fianna Fail currently holds two seats in the Dublin South-Central constituency and is expected to lose at least one.
It is not yet clear if the party will seek to replace Mr Ardagh on the ticket. While no member of his family has come forward, there will be speculation about the intentions of his daughter, Catherine Ardagh, who ran in last year's local elections.
His wife Maire and son Charlie are also both former councillors.
Taoiseach Brian Cowen said Mr Ardagh had shown immense commitment to Fianna Fail and his constituents in his 25 years as a public representative.
"He was to the forefront of much valuable work during his time as Chairman of the Oireachtas Committee on the Justice and more recently in his current post of Chairman of the Oireachtas Committee on the Constitution," he said.
Mr Cowen also paid tribute to former Government Chief Whip and Fianna Fail TD Tom Kitt, who is also retiring. Mr Kitt announced his intention to stand down two years ago.
The Taoiseach said: "I want to especially mention Tom's contribution in the areas of overseas aid, as well as in European Affairs. He will be genuinely missed by colleagues on all sides of the House."