The general secretary of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions, David Begg, retires today from the position he has held since 2001.

The current vice-president of SIPTU Patricia King will take over his role and will be the first woman to hold the post. 

Mr Begg began his career as an official in the ESB Officers Association before moving to the Communications Workers' Union. 

From 1997 to 2001 he was chief executive officer of Concern Worldwide until he took up his position as congress general. 

He has served as a non-executive director of the Central Bank and Aer Lingus, and also served as a governor of the Irish Times. 

He has been a member of the National Economic and Social Council, and vice president of the European Trade Union Confederation.