Har­ris will con­sider FG lead­er­ship bid only if the po­si­tion be­comes avail­able

Bray People - - NEWS -

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-

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