Sat, 13 April 2024
The Daily Ittefaq

Simon Harris is favourite to become Ireland's new leader

Update : 21 Mar 2024, 20:57

One day on from Leo Varadkar's resignation as taoiseach, it looks likely that Simon Harris could get a clear run to be Ireland's next leader.

Mr Harris, 37, is currently the minister for further and higher education. Three other ministers who were viewed as potential competitors have ruled themselves out of the top job.

Helen McEntee, Heather Humphreys and Paschal Donohoe have confirmed they will not contend the Fine Gael party's leadership race.
Ms McEntee and Ms Humphreys have publicly said they will support Mr Harris in his bid to become leader.

Nominations for a new leader opened at 10:00 local time on Thursday and will close on Monday at 13:00. 
If there is to be a contest the winner will be announced on 5 April.

Mr Varadkar pledged his unequivocal support to his successor during a Fine Gael parliamentary party meeting on Wednesday night.
He said he would remain as a TD (member of parliament) but hoped his replacement at the top of the Irish government would take up office shortly after Easter.

Mr Harris, a 37-year-old minister for further and higher education, research, innovation and science was the early favourite with many bookmakers. He had garnered a healthy roster of backers before nominations even opened.
Fine Gael Minister of State Neale Richmond told RTÉ's Morning Ireland programme that he would "absolutely be backing" Mr Harris.
He called him "the best person for the job".

It would mean the Republic of Ireland would have another young leader, following Mr Varadkar who was appointed taoiseach aged 38.

Mr Harris was the youngest member of the 31st Dáil at the age of 24 and became health minister in 2016.

There he led the department during a change in Ireland's abortion law and at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic as emergency lockdown measures were introduced. BBC 

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