John Moran, the Secretary General at the Department of Finance, has announced that he will step down later this year. 

Finance Minister Michael Noonan said he had accepted Mr Moran's resignation with regret.

This morning Mr Moran told staff at the Department of Finance that he would leave the position later this year.

He will continue in his role as Secretary General to help ensure things run smoothly until the appointment of a successor. 

"Since John first joined the Department of Finance on secondment from the Central Bank he played a leading role in recapitalising the banking sector and restoring the economy at a very difficult time, " Mr Noonan said in a statement today.

Mr Noonan also said that since his appointment as Secretary General, Mr Moran had been involved in every significant decision taken by him throughout the bailout programme.

"I valued his council during those very difficult times and I wish John every success in the future," Mr Noonan added.

Mr Moran told staff that he viewed his job in the Department as "a mission with a fixed purpose" and not a long term venture.

He said he believed that now was an opportune time to hand over to a successor who can continue the job well under way. 

Before his time with the Central Bank, Mr Moran had worked for law firms such as McCann FitzGerald in Dublin and major banks including Zurich Capital Markets. 

Officials in the Finance Department described the Limerick native as a "hands on" individual who was also easy to deal with.