The first female general secretary of the Irish Congress of Trade Union, Patricia King, has announced she will step down from her role.
Ms King told a meeting of the union umbrella body’s executive council that she has decided to leave the role within months.
She had already completed the seven year term for the position.
“No one knew it was coming,” said a union source. “I think she joked about not wanting to be on a zimmerframe saying she still had unfinished business.”
Ms King became the first woman to serve in the position of general secretary of Ictu when she took up the post in 2015.
She is a former vice-president of Siptu and was also a vice-president of Congress.
Ms King was a full time official with Siptu for over 25 years and the first woman to serve as a national officer of the union when she was appointed vice-president in May 2010.
She has represented workers in the public and private sectors and was a lead negotiator in the Croke Park and Haddington Road agreements.
Ms King played a leading role in the Irish Ferries dispute in 2005 and 2006 and was involved in negotiations that led to the establishment of the National Employment Rights Authority.
Ms King is expected to remain in her post for several weeks, until a successor is appointed. The position will be advertised in the coming days.
Her successor will be appointed by an interview panel.