Fianna Fáil TD for Meath East Mary Wallace has announced that she will not be contesting the next General Election.

Ms Wallace has served a councillor and a TD in the area for nearly 30 years.

She said: 'Having laboured extensively over this very difficult decision, I can honestly say that I now feel somewhat relieved.

'While I can look back over 30 years of public service with great pride, I am also really looking forward to new challenges and to opening a new chapter in my life.

'This is a great community and a great country and I look forward to the future with optimism and confidence.'

Taoiseach Brian Cowen said Ms Wallace 'has had a long and distinguished career in which she has been a very hard-working and productive representative for the people of Meath'.

He added: 'She has been a very active local politician and she has a well deserved reputation for delivering for her constituents.'

Ms Wallace is the latest in a number of Fianna Fáil TDs who have said they will not be standing in the next election.