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Dublin: 10 °C Wednesday 16 October, 2019
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Minister for Education Ruairí Quinn has resigned from Cabinet

The Labour TD will step down after the reshuffle, he confirmed today.

Updated 12.35pm

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LABOUR TD RUAIRÍ Quinn has announced his resignation from Cabinet.

The Minister for Education and Skills made a statement outside Leinster House this afternoon, outlining his plans for the future.

The move comes ahead of a Cabinet reshuffle, planned for next week. He said that he will leave Cabinet on the day of the reshuffle.

He also confirmed that he will not run for a Dáil seat again. He is currently a TD for Dublin South-East.

“Ruairi does his own thing in his own way,” said Labour colleague Joe Costello after the news emerged and reports suggested he was leaving Cabinet before he was ‘pushed out’.

He has been a very creative, reforming Minister. It is Ruairí who would make the pro-active decision himself.

Quinn himself said that the decision came “sooner than I would have liked” but that it was not an act of petulance. He had widely been expected to be dropped from Cabinet in the reshuffle.

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Quinn said that he had spoken to the Taoiseach, the Tánaiste and his family before revealing his plans to the media today.

He would not be drawn on who he wants to succeed him as Minister for Education nor who he favours for the leadership of the party – the result of which will be known on Friday – saying only that he has already cast his vote.

He hailed the party’s achievements in government so far and noted that seven or eight of his priorities as Education Minister had been included in the programme for government and most of them have been progressed.

The 68-year-old Dublin man has been an almost-consistent presence in the Oireachtas since he was first elected to the Seanad in 1976. A year later, he moved to the Dáil but lost his seat there in 1981. In the same year, he was re-elected as a Senator.

He regained his Dáil seat in the 1982 general election and has been a Deputy ever since.

As well as leading the Labour party for five years, he has held three ministries, including the Finance and Enterprise and Employment portfolios.

On joining the coalition government in 2011, the Labour TD was named the Minister for Education and Skills.

Today’s resignation is yet another significant change in the make-up of the government with a new Tánaiste imminent and the Cabinet reshuffle expected before the Dáil breaks for summer recess later this month.

- additional reporting from Sinead O’Carroll 

First published 12.04pm 

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Hugh O'Connell

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