Garda whistleblower Maurice McCabe has said he decided to retire from An Garda Siochana because it was "in the best interests" of his family.
Yesterday, just hours before he officially retired, Sergeant McCabe praised recently appointed Garda Commissioner Drew Harris but insisted now is the right time to step down.
"I am happy with the findings of the Charleton Tribunal, but I think it is in the best interests of my family to retire from policing," he said.
After 30 years of serving as a garda, Sgt McCabe is now preparing for life outside the force.
"For the last few years, I've been snowed under with paperwork from the tribunals and other investigations.
"I'm going to take a month or two off now and spend it with the family," he said.
Since the publication of Justice Peter Charleton's report earlier this month, Sgt McCabe has met personally with Commissioner Harris and the two discussed the future of policing in this country.
"We had a fantastic meeting with the commissioner," Sgt McCabe said.
"He came to the house for an hour-and-a-half. He outlined his plans for policing, and I believe he wants to change the garda for the better."
The whistleblower, who uncovered widespread malpractice in the penalty point system, only told his wife Lorraine and their five children he planned to retire at midnight.
The rest of their family and friends were not told of the decision which brings to an end a dark chapter in Irish policing.
Garda Assistant Commissioner Fintan Fanning went to the McCabe family home last night to complete the retirement process with Sgt McCabe.
Today is his last day as a garda, and he will wake up tomorrow morning as an ordinary citizen. However, he will always be remembered as a garda who spent more than a decade seeking to raise awareness of malpractice in the force.
His six-year battle to expose allegations of negligence led to the resignations of two garda commissioners, Martin Callinan and Noirin O'Sullivan, and two justice ministers, Alan Shatter and Frances Fitzgerald.
He endured years of public inquiries which all found he was a diligent member of An Garda Siochana who was seeking to raise matters of genuine concern.
The Charleton Tribunal found that former commissioner Callinan, along with garda press officer David Taylor conducted a smear campaign against Sgt McCabe. They attempted to damage his reputation while he was raising concerns about malpractice in the force.
Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan praised Sgt McCabe's "persistence, courage and great sense of duty".