TD Jim Daly will not contest the next general election on “personal grounds”, he has announced.
The Cork south-west Fine Gael representative was elected as a TD in 2011 and was assigned as a Minister of State for Mental Health and Older People just two years ago.
He had previously served as a councillor for Skibbereen.
Mr Daly said he has taken the decision to step down so he can spend more time with his five children.
In a video posted on social media, he stated that the decision has been a “difficult” one for him.
“This announcement, I appreciate, will come as a shock and surprise to some.
“I’m sure it will be a welcome development for some others, but irrespective of that it has been a very, very difficult decision for me to take.
“I have taken it purely on personal grounds. I have found it increasingly difficult to balance my life as a worker and as a career politician and, indeed, putting politics and the people of West Cork first for the last 16 years.
“Now I want to concentrate on my five young children and put them as my top priority. In order to do this properly, unfortunately, I cannot continue in public life, spending three, four or five days per week in Dublin.
“I have served the people for the last 16 years and that has been an incredible honour and privilege and I am deeply indebted to everyone who has assisted me in any way shape or form. I really am so grateful for that.
“Now I have to sign off on that side of my career and hand the mantle over to someone else. During my time in politics, I have learned that you cannot change the world but one of the greatest honours to date has been the ability to change someone’s world. When somebody comes to you and reaches out and looks for help and you can make a difference, that is an honour that I am hugely appreciative of,” he added.