The Tralee Sinn Féin councillor Toiréasa Ferris is to step down from politics entirely and is to give up her seat on Kerry County Council, she has announced.
The 39-year-old married mother of two has spent 16 years on Kerry County Council. She is to continue until the council property tax meeting next month.
First co-opted in 2003, when her father Martin was elected to the Dail, she has been elected in her own right in 2004 and has comfortably retained her seat each time. She has also been mayor of Kerry and is widely regarded as one of the best performers on Kerry County Council.
Her decision to step down from politics entirely follows a shock announcement in June that she would not be contesting her father’s seat in the next general election.
A lecturer in law, Ms Ferris has not ruled out returning to politics in the future.
In a statement, Sinn Fein in Kerry Chairperson Tadhg Dennehy paid tribute to Cllr Ferris following her announcement that she would be stepping down from Kerry County Council.
Cllr Ferris' announcement comes on the back of her decision last June not to contest the next general election, following medical advice that she should slow down the pace of her life, Sinn Fein said.
Mr Dennehy said that both Kerry and Sinn Féin were losing one of the finest elected representatives the county has ever had and that she will leave a huge gap.
"I know this was an extremely difficult decision for Toiréasa to make but the party fully understands her reasons and respects her decision. Toiréasa as a person and as an elected representative has always but the welfare of others first and it's time she puts herself and her young family first.
Kerry and Sinn Féin is losing someone with a special talent and I believe we are losing one of the finest elected representatives the county has ever had.
"Toiréasa has served the people of this county with integrity and can be proud of the work she has done over the past 16 years.
"It will be a huge gap for the party to fill but we will now take steps to find a replacement over the coming weeks. The party has democratic procedures to go through in these circumstances and we will now take the time to go through all of that."