Paul Kehoe TD was appointed Minister with Responsibility for Defence in May 2016. Paul previously served as the Government Chief Whip & Minister of State at the Departments of the Taoiseach & Defence. Minister Kehoe has also been a TD for County Wexford since he was first elected to the Dail in May 2002.
He was appointed Fine Gael Chief Whip in October 2004, a position he held in opposition until March 2011 when he was appointed Government Chief Whip by An Taoiseach Enda Kenny TD. In this role he has introduced a significant amount of Dáil Reform, which has enhanced the way the Oireachtas does its business, a huge increase in Dáil sitting days, the introduction of Friday sittings and Topical Issues Debates. The increase in Dáil sitting days has also resulted in the drafting, introduction and enacting of more legislation. He also overseen the reform of the Oireachtas Committee System which has increased their effectiveness.
Paul has combined his role as Government Chief Whip with the roles of Minister of State at the Department of An Taoiseach and Defence. In his role as Minister of State at the Department of Defence he has visited serving members of the Irish Defence Forces on duty in the Lebanon and the Golan Heights. He has also overseen the inspection of departing troops ahead of UN peace keeping missions, Cadet passing out ceremonies and the commissioning of the new naval vessel the L.E. Samuel Beckett.
Despite the demands of serving as a Cabinet Minister, Paul always works hard for his constituents in Wexford. He holds weekly advice clinics at his offices in Enniscorthy and New Ross, as well as in Gorey and Wexford Town.
He has been campaigning for the County’s interests at a national level for the 13 years he has been a TD. His priorities in opposition were securing a new A&E at Wexford General Hospital, new bypasses for Enniscorthy and New Ross and a flood relief scheme for Enniscorthy Town – funding has been secured for all of these projects by this Government. There has also been massive capital investment in schools across County Wexford including multi-million euro extensions for St Aidan’s NS in Enniscorthy and Colaiste Abbain in Adamstown.
In 2013 Minister Kehoe played a central role in the JFK50 celebrations marking the 50th anniversary of President John F Kennedy’s visit to his ancestral home in New Ross. As Chairperson of the Government Steering Group the Minister gave an oration in Arlington Cemetery in Washington and took a light from the eternal flame at JFK’s graveside which he carried back to a monument on the quay side in New Ross where the eternal flame was ignited by JFK’s daughter Caroline, his sister Ambassador Jean Kennedy Smith and An Taoiseach Enda Kenny.
Paul lives in Enniscorthy, Co Wexford with his wife Brigid and their three children Sinead, Eoin and Emma. He has been a member of Fine Gael since his youth and has held several branch roles, including District Chairman and County Youth Officer. Paul has an interest in Rugby, GAA and horse racing. He has been a member of Enniscorthy Rugby Club and the local GAA club in Ballyhogue. Paul’s favourite film is Saving Private Ryan (filmed in County Wexford) and he enjoys reading political biographies.