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John Deasy to quit politics ahead of the next general election

Deasy was the government envoy to Washington DC.

Fine Gael TD John Deasy is quitting politics.
Fine Gael TD John Deasy is quitting politics.
Image: Leah Farrell

WATERFORD TD JOHN Deasy will not contest the next general election. 

Deasy was appointed as the government envoy to Washington DC in 2017 to work on the issue of the undocumented Irish in the United States.

The role was created as President Donald Trump launched a crackdown on undocumented immigrants living in the US – about 50,000 of whom are Irish.

Over the last two years, the TD, who is married to RTÉ television presenter Maura Derrane, worked with the Embassy in Washington DC under the leadership of the Irish Ambassador to the US and the ministers for Foreign Affairs and Diaspora Affairs.

In the last two years, Deasy has worked on progressing the E3-Visa issue, with aims to secure more visas for Irish immigrants in the US.

In the same year as his appointment, the TD announced in 2017 that he would not stand in the next election over concerns about his health.

In recent months criticism has been leveled at Deasy for not being visible enough in his local constituency due to the demands of the envoy job. 

It resulted in a number of members of the Fine Gael Waterford branch backing a motion of no confidence in the Fine Gael TD. 

It subsequently emerged that the motion was tabled by the brother of Deasy’s party colleague and constituency rival Senator Paudie Coffey.

Following the vote, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said he intended to deal with claims that there is bullying in the Fine Gael branch. 

At the time, Varadkar acknowledged that there is a “long-standing split” in the party in Waterford.

30 years in Fine Gael 

Today, the Taoiseach thanked Deasy for his 30 years service to Fine Gael, stating that Deasy’s retirement from the Dáil will end more than half a century of service by the Deasy family, which he described as “one the proudest and most honourable in our political history”. 

“John has done stunningly effective work as my envoy to Capitol Hill informing Congress about the impact Brexit could have on Ireland and campaigning for immigration reform for Irish citizens. That work will continue for the duration of this Government and hopefully beyond. 

“John can be proud of the service he has provided to his home town of Dungarvan, which is also my mother’s home town. The regeneration of the waterfront, restoration of St John’s Castle, the smarter transport project, Mercyhurst College and the Déise Greenway have all transformed the town in the past few decades into a tourism, leisure and employment hub between Waterford City and Cork City,” he said.

Varadkar added that the party will now seek a candidate to join Senator Paudie Coffey on the ticket for the next general election.

Deasy has served as a TD for the county since 2002.

In 2004, he was sacked from the party’s front bench for smoking tobacco in the members bar at Leinster House just days after the introduction of the smoking ban.

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