Simon Harris becomes Taoiseach

Simon Harris becomes Taoiseach

FINE Gael Leader Simon Harris has become Ireland’s 16th Taoiseach.

The 37-year-old, the youngest ever incumbent of the position, became leader of Fine Gael after the surprise resignation of Leo Varadkar as party leader three weeks ago.

Mr Varadkar tendered his tendered his resignation to President Michael D Higgins Áras an Uachtaráin on Monday evening.

The Dáil convened on Tuesday morning to begin the process of electing a new Taoiseach.

Simon Harris, who is the Republic’s youngest ever Taoiseach, was proposed by Minister for Social Protection and Fine Gael deputy leader Heather Humphreys.

This was seconded by junior minister Peter Burke.

Mr Harris, the youngest person to hold the role, said in his maiden speech in the Dáil as Taoiseach: I will work with you and for you, and for the country that I know we all love. I will be a taoiseach who will listen."

"The Irish story is a story of hope, a spirit of optimism sustained us in the darkest of days.

"And today, once again, we must ensure it lights our way forward. Let us not make the mistake of giving into pessimism and despair about our future."

President Michael D. Higgins receives Leo Varadkar's resignation (image by Maxwell Photography)