By Jonathan McCambridge, PA
Fine Gael TD Paul Kehoe has announced that he will not be contesting the next general election.
In an address to party members in Wexford, Mr Kehoe said: “This has been a very difficult decision to make, but I feel that now is the right time for me and my family.”
He was first elected to the Dáil in the 2002 general election and has served as a TD for Wexford for 22 years. He served as government chief whip and as minister with responsibility for defence.
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said: “We came from very different backgrounds but we quickly became personal friends and political allies.
“The pivotal role that Paul played as Enda Kenny’s chief whip, for 12 years in government and opposition, is under-estimated and known only to his closest colleagues.”
He added: “I wish Paul the very best in whatever he decides to do next. He is a man not to be under-estimated, is a good judge of character and understands how politics is done.”