Fine Gael TD Fergus O’Dowd to step down at next General Election
Veteran Fine Gael TD Fergus O’Dowd has confirmed that he will not contest the next general election.
The Louth TD, who was first elected as a Fine Gael TD in 2002, confirmed his intention to step down in a statement this evening.
Mr O’Dowd becomes the latest of several Fine Gael TDs who have announced the will be not contesting the next election.
In recent months, former cabinet ministers Michael Creed and Richard Bruton have announced they would not be running again, alongside other TDs like Brendan Griffin, John Paul Phelan, Joe McHugh, and David Stanton.
In his statement, Mr O’Dowd said that it has been “an honour and privilege to represent the people of the Louth constituency for a total of fifty years as an elected representative”
“Throughout my working life I have enjoyed the heartfelt support of the people of my constituency. I have deeply appreciated their loyalty and goodwill which made my job representing them all that more satisfying,” Mr O’Dowd said.
“I now look forward to working closely with the selected Fine Gael candidates in Louth and East Meath for the upcoming local, European and General Elections.”
The Drogheda-based TD was first elected to Drogheda Town Council in 1974 as a Labour councillor. He was then elected to Louth County Council in 1979, but left Labour to join Fine Gael in 1982.
Mr O’Dowd remained on Louth County Council until 2003, but he was elected to the Seanad in 1997. He first entered the Dáil following the 2002 general election.
In 2011, he was appointed as a junior minister at the Department of Environment and at the Department of Communications, before being made chair of the Oireachtas Committee on Transport, Tourism and Sport.
Following the 2020 election, he was appointed as chair of the Committee on the Implementation of the Good Friday Agreement.
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar paid tribute to Mr O’Dowd, saying that since joining Fine Gael he has “remained true to that mission for social progress and social justice”.
“We have served in the Parliamentary Party since 2007 and 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,” Mr Varadkar said.
“Deputy O’Dowd has been a powerful advocate for the rights of older people.
“He is driven by a deep sense of justice and I know that while he will not be in the next Parliamentary Party, he will continue to work and campaign on these issues and I hope I will still be able to work with him on them in some way.”
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