File image of Fine Gael TD Fergus O’Dowd.
FINE GAEL TD Fergus O’Dowd has announced that he will stand down at the next General Election.
O’Dowd started his political career as a councillor in Drogheda and was a three-time mayor of the town.
He served as a Senator between 1997 and 2002 and was elected as a TD in 2002.
O’Dowd is currently the chair of the Oireachtas Committee on the Implementation of the Good Friday Agreement and previously served as chair of the Transport Committee.
He also served as Minister of State at the Department of Communications, Energy & Natural Resources and Environment, Community & Local Government.
In a statement today, O’Dowd said it’s been an “honour and privilege to represent the people of the Louth constituency for a total of fifty years as an elected representative”.
O’Dowd added: “I am very proud of my efforts in helping to create a more caring and compassionate Ireland.
“Among my most important campaigns was to ensure improved quality of care for residents in Nursing Homes.
“Reform of the Freedom of Information Act was also a high priority for me, to ensure that all nursing home reports were finally placed in the public domain along with ensuring the establishment of HIQA to ensure the HSE did not continue as a provider of care and also remain in charge of the inspection regime.”
O’Dowd said he intends to continue to be a “strong and forceful advocate for improved care and supports for older people”.
He added that he now looks forward to “working closely with the selected Fine Gael candidates in Louth and East Meath for the upcoming local, European and General Elections”.
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar paid tribute to O’Dowd and said: “On many occasions he reminded us, as a party, of our duty of care and empathy to wider society. His voice will be missed in the next Dáil.”
O’Dowd left the Labour party to join Fine Gael in 1982, during Garret FitzGerald’s leadership, and since then “has remained true to that mission for social progress and social justice”, said Varadkar.
Varadkar also described O’Dowd as a “powerful advocate for the rights of older people”.
He added: “Fergus has an admirable electoral record having won eight elections in a row to the Seanad, Council and Dáil in which he is serving his fifth consecutive term.
“This tells us that the people of Drogheda and Louth value him as their public representative.”
Varadkar also said that he was “honoured to nominate O’Dowd as Chairman of the Joint Oireachtas Committee on the Good Friday Agreement”, adding that O’Dowd had been “really useful as a sounding board and advisor on cross-border issues and on Northern Ireland.”
O’Dowd is the latest in a string of Fine Gael TDs to announce that they will stand down at the next election.
He follows Richard Bruton, Michael Creed, Charlie Flanagan, Brendan Griffin, Joe McHugh, John Paul Phelan, and David Stanton in confirming they will not stand again.
Former justice minister Frances Fitzgerald and her fellow MEP Deirdre Clune have also said they will not contest the European elections next year.
The three-party coalition government is to run until April 2025 but it is rumoured that a general election will take place after next year’s budget.
The local and European Parliament elections will take place next June.
-With additional reporting from Press AssociationNews Related