The new Minister of State for Gaeltacht Affairs says he will "immerse himself in the Irish language" and ensure that he "lives up to the responsibility".
It follows concern raised by Fianna Fáil's Éamon Ó Cuív that the new Minister is not a fluent Irish speaker.
Deputy Ó Cuív says the fact that the new Minister for Gaeltacht Affairs is not a fluent speaker "is a slap in the face for the thousands of Irish speakers in the country - and particularly for Gaeltacht communities".
Joe McHugh, who is from outside the Gaeltacht area, says he will take a "refresher course" in the language in the coming weeks.
He also said that he is very aware of the importance of the Irish language.