Bertie Ahern is stepping down as Irish Taoiseach next month it has been announced. He has been Leader of his Fianna Fail party since 1994 and has been Taoiseach since 1997, winning a third term in the 2007 elections.
The news comes a day after he commenced court proceedings to limit the scope of a Public Inquiry into planning corruption in the 1990s whilst Ahern was Minister for Finance. His finances are being probed by the inquiry.
Ahern said:" While I will be the first to admit that I've made mistakes in my life and in my career, one mistake I've never made was to enrich myself by misusing the trust of the people."
"I have never received a corrupt payment and I've never done anything to dishonour any office that I've ever held."
Ahern is Ireland's second longest serving Premier.