Ireland’s Enterprise Minister Simon Coveney confirms he will step down from cabinet

Ireland’s Enterprise Minister Simon Coveney confirms he will step down from cabinet

IRELAND’S Enterprise Minister Simon Coveney has announced he will step down from the cabinet in order to make way for ‘new talent’ under new party leader Simon Harris.

The Fine Gael TD for Cork South Central has been in the cabinet since 2011, holding a range of positions which include the Tánaiste role from 2017 to 2020.

This morning the politician confirmed that he would be stepping down from his ministerial role when the Dáil resumes next week.

He added that he had informed the Mr Harris, who became the leader of the party last month, following Taoiseach Leo Varadkar’s resignation from the post.

Mr Varadkar will also hand over the reins as Taoiseach to Mr Harris on April 9.

“Last night I spoke to Simon Harris to inform him that I would not be making myself available to serve in cabinet when the Dáil resumes next week,” Mr Coveney said.

“I’ll continue to work as a proud TD for Cork South Central and will of course actively support the Government in the Dáil,” he added.

In an interview on RTÉ's Today with Claire Byrne earlier today Mr Coveney said he believed his decision would make life easier for the new party leader

"I respect the fact he's made it clear that he wants to create a new-look Fine Gael in many ways, to promote new talent in the party," Mr Coveney said.

"I know he was struggling with the decision in relation to who'd be in and who'd be out, and I think that for me being in the  cabinet, which has been an amazing experience for 13 years, I felt that the time was right both from his point of view and mine for him to give him the space to create new opportunity in the party,” he added.

"One of the most difficult things for an incoming party leader and Taoiseach is to form a team that can slot into government well, particularly in an election year.

"I totally respect that that’s a really difficult decision for Simon [Harris], he's going to be the youngest Taoiseach ever.

"He's a really talented person, I think he'll want to bring forward new idea and energy in the party and I think he’ll want to bring a team with him to do that."

Enterprise Minister Simon Coveney will resign from cabinet next week

Mr Harris was announced as the new Fine Gael leader on March 24, after it was confirmed that he was the only candidate to seek the role.

Speaking after his election, he said “It is the honour of my life to lead this great party, our great party, Fine Gael”.

Addressing party colleagues at an event held at the Sheraton Athlone Hotel, in Co. Westmeath, he added: “Thank you for your trust. I promise that I will repay that trust with hard work.

“With blood, sweat and tears – day in and day out. With responsibility, with humility and with civility,” he added.

Mr Harris will take up the Taoiseach role in April, which will see him become the youngest person ever to lead the Republic of Ireland.

At just 37, he is a year younger than Mr Varadkar was when he took up the job in 2017.