Former Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney will not run in the next general election.

Coveney wrote to all Fine Gael members in his Cork south central constituency announcing his intentions on Wednesday.

In the letter, Coveney said he had dedicated his political career to Cork and his country, and indicated he would be moving away from politics.

“I have come to the view some time ago that it’s time for me to step out of politics at the next general election, after the extraordinary privilege of serving this constituency for the past 26 years.

“I hope you respect my decision to seek new horizons in life outside of Dáil Éireann,” he said.

Bright future

Coveney added that he believes the future is bright for Fine Gael, with positive changes brought about by new leader Simon Harris.

“Our party is strong and ambitious, our new leader has brought an energy that is reinvigorating the organisation at every level.

“In this constituency we’ve been promoting and encouraging new talent for years and have ambitious, talented potential candidates to replace me in the electoral tests ahead,” he said.

Step back

In April, Coveney announced he would step back from Cabinet within two weeks of Leo Varadkar’s resignation as Taoiseach.

Coveney served as Minister for Agriculture from 2011 to 2016, as well as Tánaiste from 2017 to 2020.