Fianna Fáil TD for Cavan-Monaghan Dr Rory O’Hanlon has said he is to retire and he will not contest the next General Election.

In a statement this afternoon, Dr O'Hanlon said he informed local party members of his plans over the weekend.

Dr O'Hanlon was first elected to the Dáil in 1977.

He was Minister of State at the Department of Health and Social Welfare in 1982 and from 1987 he was Minister for Health before being appointed Minister for the Environment.

In 1997 he was appointed as Leas Cheann Comhairle of the Dáil and elected as Ceann Comhairle of the 29th Dáil in 2002 and remained in the position until 2007.

Dr O'Hanlon said that following his retirement, he will remain an active member of Carrickmacross Cumann.

Taoiseach Brian Cowen thanked Dr O'Hanlon for his years of service.

'His long career as a public representative is a shining example of all that is good in politics and public service', he said.