Long-time Labour TD Brendan Ryan has ruled himself out of running in the upcoming general election, potentially just weeks before the country goes to the polls.

Mr Ryan said he made his decision after the strong showing of Labour councillor Duncan Smith in his Dublin Fingal constituency's November bye-election, saying the party needs to promote the "next generation".

Mr Ryan was first elected to the Dáil in February 2011 when Labour surged to 37 seats, before being one of just seven party TDs to retain their seats in February 2016.

The 66-year-old TD was expected to be in contention to win one of the five seats in the constituency when the next general election takes place.

"It has been a great privilege and honour for me to represent the people of Dublin Fingal in Dáil Éireann for nearly nine years now, and in Seanad Éireann from 2007 to 2011. 

"I want to thank my constituents and friends for their support over that time and I am very grateful for the trust they placed in me over three general elections," Mr Ryan said.

He added: "I spoke to all our councillors after the May local elections and told them I had no desire to hold any of them back if they wished to take the next step and run for the Dáil. 

"I am confident that we can hold our Labour seat in a general election with a new candidate and because of that I believe the time is now right for the transition to the next generation".

Labour sources said no candidate has been officially chosen to replace Mr Ryan. However, they said Mr Smith's bye-election showing means he is highly likely to be the replacement candidate.

If there is a general election in April or May, Labour will hold a constituency selection convention.

However, if there is a snap general election in February, the party's hierarchy - which has a one candidate per constituency policy - will simply appoint a candidate