Donegal TD and Former Education Minister Joe McHugh says he will not run for the Dáil in the next general election.
During his two year term in Cabinet as a senior Minister, he oversaw the first cancellation of in-person Leaving Cert exams because of the Covid-19 pandemic, which led to calculated grades being used.
The Tánaiste and Fine Gael Leader Leo Varadkar has thanked Joe McHugh for his work in successive Governments, for Ireland, for Fine Gael and for his constituents.
The Tánaiste said Deputy McHugh been and will continue to be a dedicated and hard-working member of Fine Gael and Dáil Éireann.
“I am very sorry to hear that Joe will not be contesting the next General Election but having discussed it with him, I understand his reasons.
“Deputy McHugh and I were elected to Dáil Éireann at the same time in 2007, both regaining seats for the Fine Gael party.
“We’ve served together on the Fine Gael Front Bench in opposition and as Ministers in Government.
“It was an honour as Taoiseach to appoint him to the office of Chief Whip & Minister for the Gaeltacht and subsequently as Minster for Education. Joe is one of the most compassionate and kindest people in a profession that is often far from kind.
“By making his plans known early, the party will be able to put in place a succession plan to ensure that we hold our seat in the Donegal Constituency. We will select a candidate next year once the Boundary Commission has reported.
It’s been confirmed that Deputy McHugh will continue to serve as a TD for Donegal and remains in the important role of Chairperson of the Joint Oireachtas Committee on European Affairs.”
The Fine Gael Deputy for Donegal says he wants to focus on his family life, saying politics is a job that demands 24-7 commitment.