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Friday 1 December 2023 Dublin: 2°C
Fine Gael

'It has been a privilege': Richard Bruton announces he will not run in the next general election

The veteran Fine Gael TD was first elected to the Dáil in 1982.

LAST UPDATE | Sep 5th 2023, 8:33 PM

FINE GAEL TD and former Cabinet minister Richard Bruton is to stand down at the next election.

The veteran politician informed his constituency organisation in Dublin Bay North of his decision not to contest the next general election this evening.

“I have decided that I will not contest the next General Election. I would like to thank local voters for the trust you have shown in me to serve as your local TD for the past 41 years.

“It has been a privilege to get the chance to represent you on the Council, in the Dáil, and in cabinet. I will continue to work hard for you up to the end of this Dáil term,” Bruton said in a statement released this evening.

“I would like to thank all those who have helped me in my work throughout my career, particularly my family, my friends, and Fine Gael members. That loyalty means so much to me. However, this is the right time, as new constituencies are forming, to give others the chance to take on the role. 

“I have been so lucky to be given the chance to hold office under four different Taoisigh, and to be part of some major changes in Irish society. Ireland has made huge strides in that time. 

“As I announce my departure from politics, I would encourage anyone with an interest in public life to consider putting their name forward for election. There are many important reforms which only politics can deliver.”

Varadkar pays tribute to Bruton’s 41-year career

The Leader of Fine Gael, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar paid tribute to Bruton stating that he has had an immense impact on Irish politics over his 41-year career. 

“He introduced the first Action Plan for Jobs in 2011, when our country was dealing with the devastating impact of high unemployment and emigration. It surpassed all targets. 750,000 jobs have been created since then and we are now at record employment. This is Richard’s legacy. 

“He was pivotal in getting the National Broadband Plan off the ground in the face of much opposition. This vital piece of infrastructure will transform Ireland, particularly rural communities, for generations to come, bringing connectivity to every home, farm and business in Ireland,” Varadkar said in a statement. 

He noted that Bruton also published Ireland’s first Climate Action Plan, something Varadkar said was a groundbreaking piece of work.

During his time as Minister for Education, he removed the so-called ‘Baptism Barrier’, making school admissions fairer for all children, regardless of their religion, added Varadkar. 

“Nothing matters more to Richard than his constituents in Dublin Bay North. I have no doubt this commitment will continue into the future, but he will be a big loss to his community come the next election.

“Richard’s intelligence, his incredible work ethic and his ability to get things done, have made him an extremely effective representative in his many roles over the course of his career. He has achieved a huge amount and I wish him and his family all the very best for the future,” said Varadkar. 

The Fine Gael leader said he is confident that his party will retain their seat in Bruton’s five-seat constituency.

“We will proceed to select a candidate or candidates in the coming months to give them maximum time and the best chance of the success,” he said. 

Bruton nor Fine Gael have commented on the announcement, but sources state there is no surprise among the party.

Bruton, who is 70 years old, was first elected to the Dáil in 1982. He is currently Chairman of the Fine Gael Parliamentary Party. 

He has previously served as Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment as well as Minister of Education and Skills .

He is among a number of Fine Gael TDs to announce that they will not be contesting the next general election.

In recent months, other TDs like Brendan Griffin, John Paul Phelan, Joe McHugh, David Stanton and former agriculture minister Michael Creed have announced they will not run again.

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