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Dublin Fingal

Former health minister James Reilly is retiring from politics

The Fine Gael politician ran unsuccessfully for the third time in Dublin Fingal.

FORMER DEPUTY LEADER of Fine Gael, James Reilly, has announced plans to retire from politics after he missed out on a seat in Dublin Fingal.

Reilly was first elected to the Dáil in 2007 but lost his seat in 2016.

He was subsequently appointed to the Seanad by Enda Kenny, despite his own previous criticisms of the upper house .

He ran in the recent by-election in his constituency, coming fourth and losing out to the Green Party’s Joe O’Brien.

Reilly received 3,280 first preference votes in this weekend’s general election and was eliminated on the eight count.

Speaking to RTÉ News, he thanked his supporters, adding:

My current reflection is, after 13 years in public life, I owe my wife a debt of gratitude, and I promised I wouldn’t spend more than 10 years, so I’m going back to look after my family and practice [medicine].

Asked if this was the end of this political career, he replied: “Yes, I do believe that.”

“There’ll be one happy person here tonight for sure, and that’s my wife,” he said.

Reilly also joined others in calling for Leo Varadkar to ‘reflect’ on his position as leader of Fine Gael.

Reilly served as Minister for Health in the Fine Gael-Labour coalition government from 2011, from where he maintained a strong anti-smoking stance, seeking extensions to the smoking ban and increases in the price of cigarettes. He paved the way for the introduction of plain packaging.

The former minister also called for the Eighth Amendment to be repealed, despite Taoiseach Enda Kenny’s hesitation to commit to a referendum in 2015.

After a cabinet reshuffle in 2014, he became Minister for Children and Youth Affairs.

Reilly was president of the Irish Medical Organisation before entering politics and is a practicing GP in Lusk.

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