Former Communications Minister Denis Naughten has opened up about being shunned by members of the Fine Gael parliamentary party in Leinster House.

He was speaking to Katie Hannon for Upfront: The Podcast, in the wake of his announcement this week that he will leave politics ahead of the next General Election. He is currently 49 years old.

Mr Naughten lost the Fine Gael parliamentary whip in 2011, when he voted against the Government on proposed changes to the operation of Roscommon Hospital.

"Having to vote against the party in 2011, and be expelled in the manner that I was expelled from the parliamentary party... all of that really hurt," he said.

"These were my colleagues, these were my work colleagues. These were as close as family to me. And when you walked around the corridors the next day, and the next week, when people that you had been friendly with the week before literally shunned you... That was hard."

"It was a very, very cold place here in Leinster House at that time. Far colder than it was after I resigned as minister."

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He became Minister for Communications in 2016, as part of a deal between independent TDs and Fine Gael to form a minority government. Two years later he was forced to step down, following controversy about meetings with the sole remaining bidder for the National Broadband Plan.

"Would you agree that you were largely the architect of your own downfall in relation to that?" Katie Hannon asked.

"Yes, looking back on it now," Mr Naughten replied. "But I do know that the intention behind all of that was to keep the sole bidder in the process and to deliver on the National Broadband Plan... and I think it will transform society as a whole, even to a far greater extent than rural electrification ever did."

During the wide-ranging interview, Mr Naughten also spoke about what he'll miss about being a legislator.

"Down through the years, I have been lucky enough to work with people like Seamus Brennan, like Éamon Ó Cuív, Brian Lenihan, Darragh O'Brien and Alan Shatter," he said.

"People who would be prepared to listen to a good proposal, a good amendment, to take on board the feedback that was coming from parliament and implement it. Sadly, I think there's too little of those in politics."

Denis Naughten first entered the Oireachtas as a senator in 1997, following the death of his father, Senator Liam Naughten in a car crash. Denis Naughten was at the Young Fine Gael Conference in Waterford with several siblings when the accident happened.

"Jim Miley, the secretary-general of the party, called me into his room and broke the news to me."

"We travelled back in John Bruton's car. John was Taoiseach, and his driver brought us back. I'll never forget it because he spent the whole journey back from Waterford to Roscommon talking about football and kept our minds off things."

At the time of his father's death, Denis Naughten was studying for a PhD in Food Microbiology in University College Cork. He says science remains his passion, and he is hoping to work in the area after leaving the Oireachtas.

"I was never someone that really wanted to be in the public eye, or had a grá for public speaking."

"My ideal job would have been to be chief scientific advisor to the government. I loved science, I loved politics, I loved the interaction between both of those. And if I had my choice of career, that's what my ambition would have been."

All episodes of 'Upfront: The Podcast' can be found here, or wherever you get your podcasts.