Election 2020: Joe McHugh (Fine Gael)

Donegal – Elected 9th count

Joe McHugh. File photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Joe McHugh. File photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins


Minister for Education and Skills Joe McHugh (48) is generally well regarded by the teaching sector and has an empathy as a former geography and maths teacher himself.

But he has been under growing pressure in the run up to the general election with industrial action by school secretaries and the one-day strike by teachers over pay inequality for recruits appointed since 2011.

But before the criticisms of Government policy there, were personal plaudits and the Irish language community has consistently praised his success in reaching fluency after he was appointed government chief whip and minister of state with responsibility for the Gaeltacht.

He previously served as minister of state for the diaspora and overseas development aid.

First elected to the Dáil in 2007 he was a senator from 2002 to 2007.

He worked as a teacher in Letterkenny and Dubai, setting up the first GAA club there.

He is married to former TD Olwyn Enright and has two children.