Harris will consider FG leadership bid only if the position becomes available
Minister Simon Harris will give ‘serious consideration’ to running for leadership of Fine Gael.
‘There is no vacancy at the moment,’ said Mr Harris yesterday. ‘However when one does arise, I will give it serious consideration in consultation with my family, colleagues and constituents. Representing the people of Wicklow and serving in Government as Minister for Health are my absolute priorities right now and I am determined to continue to work as hard as I can to deliver on both fronts.’ Mr Harris’ association with the potential position comes after the leaked contents of a Fine Gael WhatsApp group. Foreign Affairs Minister Charlie Flanagan posted in the group chat ‘He hasn’t announced yet but Frances is encouraging him. He wants out of Health.’
‘My colleague Charlie Flanagan has many, many fine attributes. He’s a great colleague of mine but I think funny jokes on a Sunday afternoon is clearly not one of them,’ said Mr Harris, according to the Irish Independent. The WhatsApp group has since been deleted, it is understood. ‘There is so much I want to do and so many important issues I want to progress in the Department of Health including providing all children with special needs who receive Domiciliary Care Allowance with an automatic entitlement to a medical card, reducing prescription charges for over 300,000 older people, building a new National Maternity Hospital, launching a new National Cancer Strategy, these and many other initiatives to improve the healthcare service for every citizen, young and old in this country, remains my absolute priority and focus,’ he said During a visit to University Hospital Galway on Monday, Mr Harris (30) said that youth should not be a barrier to leadership. ‘Age to me is immaterial,’ he said. ‘I look to be judged on my job that I am doing, and I am working as hard as I possibly can at that job.
‘I try to provide leadership in whatever role I am given,’ he said. ‘As Minister for Health, as Minister of State for the OPW, as Minister of State for the Department of Finance, as a member of the Public Accounts Committee, as a TD, and in a range of other areas before I was involved in politics, including disability advocacy. I think people should be judged on their vision for the country and not on an age on a birth cert. The Taoiseach Enda Kenny is expected to make an announcement regarding his leader-