Fine Gael TD for Laois/Offaly Olwyn Enright has announced that she will not be contesting the next General Election.

In a statement this morning, Ms Enright said with a young family she would not be in a position to give the required commitment as an elected representative.

Ms Enright was first elected to the Dáil in 2002 and is married to fellow Fine Gael TD Joe McHugh.

She said: 'This has been a difficult decision that I have deliberated over for some time and I have made this announcement now to enable the local Fine Gael organisation time to select a team of candidates to retain the seat for the party.

'It has been a privilege and an honour to serve the people of both Laois and Offaly for almost the last decade. I deeply appreciate the trust they placed in me. It is a role I have cherished and endeavoured to work very hard in.'

She served as the party's spokesperson on education and science, as well as social and family affairs, but was demoted when she expressed no confidence in party leader Enda Kenny.

Mr Kenny said Ms Enright told him of her plan to step down last week and said he respected her decision.

He said: 'I fully respect and fully understand the decision Olwyn has made. I also fully understand the difficulty of the decision Olwyn has made with her husband Joe in putting her family before politics.

'I thank Olwyn for her political service and for the initiatives that she brought forward and for the work she did as Fine Gael Spokesperson both on Education and Children and on Social and Family Affairs.'