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If there is one thing Joe McHugh (45) has earned plaudits for it is his efforts to learn Irish. He was appointed Minister of State with responsibility for the Gaeltacht to howls of derision about his lack of Irish. But he took lessons and is now fluent. The prospects for the Irish language remain unclear, but the furore about the Minister’s linguistic lack had the impact of increasing interest and perhaps tuition in Irish. He was also appointed as a Minister of State with special responsibility for natural resources. He was first elected to the Dáil in 2007, having served as a senator from 2002 to 2007. He previously worked as a geography and maths teacher in Letterkenny and also taught in Dubai, setting up the first GAA club there. He is married to former TD Olwyn Enright and has two children.