Minister Heather Humphreys confirms her decision not to run for the leadership of Fine Gael on RTÉ’s News at One last Thursday in the wake of Leo Varadkar’s resignation.

Heather ‘proud’ to nominate Harris

The Minister for Rural Affairs Heather Humphreys said this week that she was “proud” to nominate Simon Harris to lead the Fine Gael party.

“I really believe that Simon will reset the dial for Fine Gael and put a new focus on issues such as rewarding work, backing small businesses, supporting Rural Ireland and law and order,” she told the Celt this week following his appointment as party leader on Sunday in Athlone.

Minister Humphreys said she gave “strong consideration” to running for the position, which could have lead to her making history to become the country’s first female Taoiseach.

“I was strongly encouraged to do so by so many people both in the Cavan/Monaghan constituency and right around the country. But in the end, I had to consider other factors – including the fact I now have two young grandchildren in my life,” she said.

While a cabinet reshuffle is expected after the Easter Dáil recess, when Simon Harris is expected to be appointed Taoiseach, Minister Humpheys is highly likely to secure a ministerial position.

“In terms of the position of deputy leader and future positions, that is a matter for Simon and he will be making that announcement shortly. I have really enjoyed the work across my two Government Departments of Social Protection and Rural and Community Development,” Minister Humphreys told the Celt, stating her strong preference to stay in her current roles.

“We are delivering landmark reform in Social Protection in terms of pay-related benefit and pensions. And this week, I’ll be bringing a memo to Government in relation to our Auto-Enrolment Bill.

“I also really enjoy the role as Minister for Rural and Community Development. And through that Department, we have put an unprecedented level of investment into rural communities right across this constituency and beyond.

“So I would be delighted to continue the work I’m doing in my two Departments but again that will be a decision for the party leader.”