Donegal TD is new government chief whip

Along with being the new chief whip, the Carrigart native will also have responsibility for Gaeltacht and Islands.

Donegal TD Joe McHugh backs Leo Varadkar for Taoiseach

Joe McHugh and Leo Varadkar having a quiet word last week in Gaoth Dobhair. Photo Brian McDaid.

Donegal Fine Gael TD, Joe McHugh, has been named as the chief whip by his new party leader, Leo Varadkar.

Deputy McHugh, who was one of the last of the Fine Gael TDs to be told of their promotion and new roles by the Taoiseach, learned of his new promotion to a full cabinet role just after seven o'clock this evening.

Along with being the new chief whip, the Carrigart native will also have responsibility for Gaeltacht and Islands.

Speaking to the Donegal Democrat, Minister McHugh said he was extremely happy with his new roles.

"I'm delighted for the people of Donegal and I am looking forward to getting on with the business at hand. While I have responsibility now for Gaeltlacht and the Islands, my role will also be about promoting the Irish language nationally," he commented.

This evening's new cabinet reshuffle ends weeks of speculation about the possibility of Minister McHugh getting the nod for a senior cabinet position.

He was one of the first Fine Gael TDs to back Leo Varadkar in his bid to succeed Enda Kenny, and his loyalty and support has been rewarded with this evening's reshuffle.

Under former Taoiseach, Enda Kenny, Joe McHugh served as Minister of State for the Diaspora and Overseas Development and Minister of State for Gaeltacht Affairs and Natural Resources.

The 45-year-old first entered politics 18 years ago when he was elected to Donegal County Council on June 11th, 1999.

He then served in Seanad Éireann from 2002 for five years, before being elected to Dáil Éireann in 200.

Married to former Fine Gael Deputy, Olwyn Enright, the couple have three children.

The last time Donegal had a Fine Gael TD in the senior cabinet was back in 1954, when Patrick O'Donnell was appointed Minister for Local Government.

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