Joe McHugh turns down junior ministerial role

Former Education Minister Joe McHugh turned down a junior ministry in the new government.
Joe McHugh turns down junior ministerial role
Former Minister for Education and Skills Joe McHugh
Former Minister for Education and Skills Joe McHugh

Former Education Minister Joe McHugh turned down a junior ministry in the new government.

The Donegal TD was passed over for a seat around the cabinet table last Saturday, and had been offered his pick of a number of portfolios by Leo Varadkar in the time since.

It's understood none of the available Fine Gael junior ministries particularly interested McHugh, and instead, indicated his interest in seeking chair of Committee on European Union Affairs, preferring instead to scrutinise European legislation as it's transposed into Irish law amid a looming Brexit.

Mr McHugh, it is believed, had indicated he would've preferred Minister for State for European Affairs or a portfolio involving tourism, however, neither of these were open to Fine Gael TDs due to how junior ministries are allocated between the parties of the coalition.

A strong supporter of Leo Varadkar, who helped his leadership bid, the former teacher was most recently Minister for Education, having to scrap the school exams during the pandemic.

McHugh served as government whip, and his wife, Olwyn Enright, a former TD, is also heavily involved in Fine Gael.

He has also been involved in North-South cooperation, previously having served as a junior for foreign affairs in Iveagh House.

The Irish Examiner has also confirmed today that Fine Gael Kerry TD Brendan Griffin, the former junior tourism minister, has also lost out on being returned to office under the new coalition.

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