EXCLUSIVE: Fine Gael TD, Deputy Joe McHugh, has been appointed as a new Junior Gaeltacht Minister as part of Taoiseach Enda Kenny’s reshuffle of his ministerial cabinet.
He replaces his Fine Gael colleague Dinny McGinley who has been sacked as part of the government reshuffle.
Deputy McGinley has also announced that he will now retire from politics.
Fine Gael had expressed its desire to freshen the junior ranks of Government.
Taoiseach Enda Kenny had said today would be a difficult day for him, but said he needed a motivated and hungry team that were ready for the challenges that lie ahead.
The party is also seeking to shore up support in key constituencies where they took a hammering in the local and European elections.
Deputy McHugh had described the local election results as a “wake-up call” for the Government and criticised austerity measures hitting rural Ireland.
McHugh also took on Leo Varadkar after attempts to close Malin Head Coast Guard station were proposed and successfully lobbied to keep the facility open.
Joe McHugh became a Fine Gael public representative in June 1999 when he was elected to represent the Milford electoral area as a Member of Donegal County Council.
He was elected to Seanad Éireann in 2002 and served as Fine Gael Seanad Spokesperson on Community, Rural, Gaeltacht and Marine Affairs from 2002-2007.
He amassed 22.6% to top the poll in the 2007 general election, and was elected to Dáil Éireann, re-establishing a Fine Gael Dáil presence in Donegal North-East after 10 years without Fine Gael Dáil representation in the constituency.
McHugh is married to Olwyn Enright and they have three children Darragh, Aedín and Oisín.
The family resides at Claggan, Carrigart.