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Disabilities Minister Finian McGrath won't be contesting the election

McGrath said in a statement that this was the correct decision for him and his family, but that he was “far from retiring”.

Image: Leah Farrell

MINISTER OF STATE for Disability Issues Finian McGrath has said that he won’t be contesting this general election.

The Dublin Bay North TD is a member of the Independent Alliance, and first entered the Dáil in 2002.

In a statement released this afternoon following the confirmation of a general election on 8 February, McGrath said that he would not be standing for the 33rd Dáil.

“I have given this matter careful consideration and believe this is the correct decision for my family and me. I am far from retiring and will remain involved in political activism, supporting disability issues. 

“I hope to spend time encouraging some of the 13% of Ireland’s population who have some form of disability to get involved in politics at a local or national level,” he said.

He thanked his late wife Anne, his two daughters Caoimhe and Cliodhna, and other members of his family for their support. 

“Above all, it was a privilege to serve my constituents in Dublin Bay North and I would like to humbly send a heartfelt thank you to every person who voted for me at any time during my political career. Thank you. I did my best.”

McGrath joined the government as a junior minister through the Independent Alliance, which supported the Fine Gael government since the 2016 general election. He became the first Minister of State for Disabilities in 2016.

In his statement where he confirmed the election date, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar thanked the Independent Alliance for “having the courage” to support Fine Gael in government.

Minister for Communications Richard Bruton tweeted out that McGrath “served our constituents well and been great to work with in and out of government”.

His big heart, his playful personality, and his huge commitment enlivened many a Cabinet meeting. As the first ever Minister for Disabilities he brought a real change to people’s lives. 

“He was always a loyal colleague and at all times treated both supporters and opponents with fairness and respect,” he said.

Health Minister Simon Harris said: “I would thank my colleague and friend Finian McGrath for all his work and effort over the last number of years. I have seen first hand his dedication and passion for public service. I wish him, his family and his supporters all the very best.”

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