Former Irish prime minister Bertie Ahern said he had resigned from the Fianna Fail party over a furore surrounding his finances during his near decade at the helm of the country.
The resignation came days after a long-awaited report concluded Ahern had failed to give a truthful account about the source of substantial sums of money he received.
In an article written for the Sunday Independent newspaper, Ahern dismissed the accusation in the report but announced his resignation, describing the move as a political decision to avoid political division in the party.
The move came days before the party's National Executive was due to meet to consider expelling Ahern, who was one of the architects of Ireland's ill-fated economic boom.
Set up in 1997, the Mahon Tribunal probed the relationships between politicians and property developers after builders made vast profits on land re-zoned as commercial.
In its report, which ran to over 3,000 pages, it said corruption was endemic and systemic at every level of government in Ireland in the late 1990s. Ahern was Taoiseach, or prime minister, from 1997 to 2008.
Ahern categorically denied any wrongdoing and said he would clear his name.
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, he said in the statement.
I reject the findings of this inaccurate and unsubstantiated report in the strongest possible manner, he added.
The verdict came four years after the economy collapsed under the strain of a decade-long housing and banking boom, cultivated by Ahern and his Fianna Fail party, and a year after the party was ejected from power by angry voters.
Ahern, who described his finances as chaotic during his time as leader, was one of Europe's longest serving premiers and was widely praised for his work in resolving a three-decade conflict in Northern Ireland.
(Reporting by Lorraine Turner; Editing by Andrew Heavens)