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Former housing minister Eoghan Murphy resigns as TD for Dublin Bay South

Murphy held the role of Housing Minister for three years.

Image: RollingNews.ie

Updated Apr 27th 2021, 10:53 AM

FORMER HOUSING MINISTER Eoghan Murphy has resigned his Dáíl seat.

The Fine Gael TD for Dublin Bay South said in a statement he will pursue a career in international affairs. 

Describing it as a “personal decision”, Murphy said that it had been a “huge privilege” to serve his constituents as a councillor and as a TD.

He said: “Leaving frontline politics is not something that I am doing without having considered the matter fully.

“In my late 20s, I worked in the UN system before I returned to Ireland to get involved alongside many other people looking to play their part in the national recovery at the time. And now, after 12 years of service and having reflected upon things, I have made the decision to return to international affairs.

“I have resigned my seat today, not to leave politics entirely, but to pursue a career in the area of international co-operation, human rights and democracy.”

Murphy first won a seat in the Dáil for Fine Gael in 2011.

He was appointed Minister for Housing when Leo Varadkar became Taoiseach in 2017.

In a statement, Varadkar said he was “personally and professionally” sorry to see Murphy go. 

The now-Tánaiste said that Murphy took over the housing brief at a “most difficult time” and that policies he enacted provide mortgages to “thousands of first-time buyers who otherwise would have got none”. 

“I wish Eoghan every success in his future career, and perhaps we may see him return to play a role in Ireland in the future,” Varadkar added.

He was replaced by Fianna Fáil’s Darragh O’Brien in the new coalition government last summer. 

The Fine Gael TD came under sustained criticism during his tenure as housing minister given the worsening situation of homelessness and the high cost of housing. 

In September 2018, Sinn Féin tabled a motion of no confidence in Murphy which was defeated after Fine Gael and a number of independents backed him and Fianna Fáil abstained

In December 2019, he survived another vote of no confidence in the Dáil tabled by the Social Democrats

Claire Byrne interview

In a lengthy interview on RTÉ’s Today With Claire Byrne this morning, Murphy delved into his career and the reasons behind his decision to resign. 

He said it was something that had been on his mind for the last few months. 

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“You ask yourself, is it right to stay as a TD, taking a very generous salary from the public purse, if you’re not 100% committed to it? I realised the right thing is to resign now, and allow the constituency to replace me,” he said.

On his record in housing, Murphy acknowledged it was a “tough” brief to have.

“I understood the criticism, it was part of the job,” he said. 

He said that while the situation was improving towards the end of his time as minister, “it wasn’t happening quickly enough” and “needed more time”. 

Murphy said that he was frustrated at not having full decision-making powers and cited hurdles such as procurement and bureaucracy at slowing down efforts to build more homes. 

He also admitted that comments made about co-living was “a mistake”

A by-election will be required to take place in Dublin Bay South within the next six months. 

About the author:

Sean Murray

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