Ireland's former prime minister Bertie Ahern said Saturday he is resigning from his political party, Fianna Fail, after a landmark corruption probe found he lied about bank deposits.
Ahern wrote in the Sunday Independent newspaper that he was challenging the findings of the inquiry, but did not want to be a source of division in the party and so had decided to tender his resignation.
He said he was "deeply saddened" by the tabling of a motion to remove him as a party member, which will be voted on at a special meeting of the party's national executive being called for next Friday.
"I have decided the best way that I can now serve Fianna Fail is to tender my resignation as a member of the party," Ahern wrote in the Sunday Independent.
"In tendering my resignation, I want people to understand that this is a political decision.
"My resignation is not an admission of wrong-doing in regard to the report of the Mahon tribunal and nobody should try to interpret it in that way."
The Mahon Tribunal finally issued its findings on Thursday after a 15-year investigation of payments dating from the early 1990s.
It found that key aspects of Ahern's evidence about deposits that were made when he was finance minister were "untrue" but did not accuse him of corruption.
The inquiry, the longest and most expensive public inquiry in Irish history, prompted Ahern to quit office in 2008, saying the publicity surrounding the probe made it impossible to do his job.
Ahern led Fianna Fail for 14 years.© ANP/AFP