A senior cleric who pushed for the ordination of female ministers has announced his retirement as the head of the Church of Ireland in Dublin.
The Most Rev Dr John RW Neill revealed he plans to retire as Archbishop of Dublin and Bishop of Glendalough at the end of January after eight years.
The 64-year-old, who was a significant force in the introduction of female ordination, believes it is time for a new church leader with fresh vision and energy.
"On January 25, 2011, I will have served for 25 years as a Bishop in the Church of Ireland and for over eight years as Archbishop of Dublin," said Dr Neill.
"I have enjoyed my whole ministry as deacon, priest and bishop and these last years as Archbishop have offered me many opportunities to serve in a rich variety of ways, working with a wonderful team of both priests and laity.
"The time has come for an Archbishop with fresh vision and energy to lead the United Dioceses and to serve as Metropolitan of the Province."
Born in Dublin, Dr Neill was the only son of the late Canon EM Neill.
He was educated in schools in Blackrock and Ranelagh before attending Trinity College Dublin, where he graduated with a First Class Honours Moderatorship in Hebrew and Oriental Languages.
He later studied at the Jesus College Cambridge, achieved an MA in Cambridge and in 2003 was awarded an LLD (Doctor of Laws) from the National University of Ireland.
When he was ordained a deacon in 1969, and as a priest the following year, he became the fourth generation of his family to serve in ordained ministry.