John Deasy confirms he will not contest next election

Waterford TD says uncertainty has permeated ruling administration

Fine Gael TD John Deasy has confirmed he is to retire from politics at the next general election. Mr Deasy, who is the Government's envoy to the US Congress, informed Taoiseach Leo Varadkar of his decision last March.

The Waterford TD was elected to the Dail in 2002 and his father Austin served as Minister for Agriculture during the 1980s.

“Next year will mark 30 years working in politics. I started working in the US Senate in 1990 and I’ve other interests. It’s something I’ve thought about for years. I decided that if I didn’t leave now I would be too old to start something else,” Mr Deasy said.

“I have other interests that I’ve really wanted to focus on for years and the job I’m doing right now and for the last couple of years, allowed me to connect back with my background working in Capitol Hill.


“That’s been really interesting for me and brought me back to what I was doing for a living 20 years ago. If I was to do something, it might be connected with the US.”

Mr Deasy said he wouldn’t miss the “uncertainty” of current political life.

“I think the Dáil has become a very strange place and as politics has fragmented over recent years, it’s become chronically uncertain for people in the Dáil who have been anticipating and expecting an election for the last three years,” he added.

“I don’t really see that instability changing at all after the next election. In fact, I think it might actually get worse. That is just a consequence of minority governments being in place over the next 10 years. I won’t miss that uncertainty and I think that has permeated this administration.”

The Waterford TD said he will continue to work to get a bill to extend the E3 visa scheme to Irish citizens back before US Congress by the end of the year.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has thanked Mr Deasy for “30 years of service to Fine Gael, Waterford and Ireland”.

“John’s retirement from the Dáil will end more than half a century of service by the Deasy family; one the proudest and most honourable in our political history,” the Taoiseach said in a statement.

"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."

Mr Varadkar said the party will now seek a candidate to join Senator Paudie Coffey on the ticket "to secure our seat and, on a good day, challenge for a second in the next general election".

Sarah Burns

Sarah Burns

Sarah Burns is a reporter for The Irish Times