Denis Naughten

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Denis Naughten

Denis Naughten 2016.jpg
Chair Committee on Social Protection, Community and Rural Development and the Islands
Assumed office
15 September 2020
Preceded byFiona O'Loughlin
Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment
In office
6 May 2016 – 11 October 2018
TaoiseachEnda Kenny
Leo Varadkar
Preceded byAlex White
Succeeded byRichard Bruton
Teachta Dála
Assumed office
February 2016
In office
May 2007 – February 2016
ConstituencyRoscommon–South Leitrim
In office
June 1997 – May 2007
In office
25 January 1997 – 6 June 1997
ConstituencyAgricultural Panel
Personal details
Born (1973-06-23) 23 June 1973 (age 48)
Drum, County Roscommon, Ireland
Political partyIndependent
Other political
Fine Gael (until 2011)
Spouse(s)Mary Tiernan (m. 1999)
RelationsLiam Naughten (Father)
EducationSt. Aloysius College, Athlone
Alma mater

Denis Naughten (born 23 June 1973) is an Irish Independent politician who has been a Teachta Dála (TD) for the Roscommon–Galway constituency since 2016, and previously from 2007 to 2016 for the Roscommon–South Leitrim constituency and from 1997 to 2007 for the Longford–Roscommon constituency. He was appointed Chair of the Committee on Social Protection, Community and Rural Development and the Islands in September 2020. He previously served as Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment from 2016 to 2018. He was a Senator for the Agricultural Panel from January 1997 to June 1997.[1]

He sits as an Independent TD, having lost the Fine Gael parliamentary party whip in July 2011.[2]

Family and early life[edit]

Naughten was born in Drum, County Roscommon, in 1973. He was educated at St. Aloysius College, Athlone, University College Dublin and University College Cork, where he studied for a PhD in Food Microbiology (extracellular polysaccharide production in lactic acid bacteria), but did not complete it.[3] His father Liam Naughten was also a Fine Gael TD and Senator.

Political career[edit]

Naughten was elected at a by-election to Seanad Éireann in 1997, to the seat vacant since the death of his father. Following, the 1997 general election, he was elected to Dáil Éireann as a Fine Gael TD for the Longford–Roscommon constituency and was re-elected at the 2002 general election.[4] He was also a member of Roscommon County Council and the Western Health Board from January 1997 to October 2003.

Within his first few weeks in the Dáil, he became Fine Gael Spokesperson on Youth Affairs, School Transport and Adult Education. Between 2000 and 2001, he served as Spokesperson on Enterprise, Trade and Employment. Naughten declined to stand in the party's leadership election in 2002, having at first indicated an interest in standing. He was later appointed Spokesperson on Transport. He was Spokesperson on Agriculture from 2004 to 2007.

He was re-elected at the 2007 general election for the new constituency of Roscommon–South Leitrim. He was Spokesperson on Immigration and Integration from 2007 to 2010. In June 2010, he supported Richard Bruton's leadership challenge to Enda Kenny. Following Kenny's victory in a motion of confidence, Naughten was not re-appointed to the front bench. In October 2010, he was appointed Deputy Spokesperson on Health, with special responsibility for Primary Care and Disability.

He was re-elected at the 2011 general election. He voted against the government's decision to close the Roscommon County Hospital emergency department on 6 July 2011.[5][6] He lost the Fine Gael party whip the following day.[2][7] On 13 September 2013, he and six other expellees formed the Reform Alliance, described as a "loose alliance" rather than a political party.[8] He was re-elected for Roscommon–Galway at the 2016 general election.

Naughten was appointed as Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment in Taoiseach Enda Kenny's Fine Gael/Independent minority government after two months of negotiation following the 2016 general election. He later resigned from this post on 11 October 2018, following controversy surrounding a series of meetings he attended with the leading bidder for his department's National Broadband Plan that occurred during the project's procurement process.[9] He was replaced by Richard Bruton.[10] He stood for election for Ceann Comhairle at the first sitting of the 33rd Dáil on 20 February 2020, but was defeated by Seán Ó Fearghaíl.[11] Naughten was subsequently appointed by Leo Varadkar as the Leas-Cheann Comhairle on an acting basis due to a deferred election caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.[12][13]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Denis Naughten". Oireachtas Members Database. Retrieved 6 October 2009.
  2. ^ a b "Naughten loses Fine Gael whip". The Irish Times. 7 July 2011. Retrieved 7 July 2011.
  3. ^ "Interview: Denis Naughten has his work cut out with tricky portfolio".
  4. ^ "Denis Naughten". Retrieved 6 October 2009.
  5. ^ "Naughten votes against Govt on hospital motion". RTÉ News. 6 July 2011.
  6. ^ "Naughten votes against Govt in Roscommon Hospital Dáil motion". Irish Examiner. Retrieved 6 July 2011.
  7. ^ "FG rebel Naughten ejected from coalition". Irish Examiner. 7 July 2011. Retrieved 7 July 2011.
  8. ^ "The politicians formerly known as the Fine Gael rebels are now the Reform Alliance". 10 September 2013. Retrieved 15 September 2013.
  9. ^ "Denis Naughten resigns following broadband controversy". The Irish Times. Retrieved 11 October 2018.
  10. ^ "Bruton named Minister for Communications, McHugh named Minister for Education". RTÉ News. 13 October 2018.
  11. ^ "Seán Ó Fearghaíl has been re-elected Ceann Comhairle of Dáil Éireann".
  12. ^ Irish Examiner: "Leas Cheann Comhairle election deferred until next week"
  13. ^ Irish Examiner: "Varadkar asks Naughten to fill role of Leas-Cheann Comhairle as temporary measure"

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Tom Foxe
Fine Gael Teachta Dála for Longford–Roscommon
Constituency abolished
New constituency Fine Gael Teachta Dála for Roscommon–South Leitrim
Honorary titles
Preceded by
Mildred Fox
Baby of the Dáil
Succeeded by
Damien English
Political offices
Preceded by
Alex White
as Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources
Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment
Succeeded by
Richard Bruton