Simon Coveney To Step Down From Cabinet

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Minister for Enterprise, Trade, and Employment Simon Coveney is to step down from Cabinet when the Dáil resumes next week.

Mr Coveney confirmed this news via X, having spoken to Fine Gael leader Simon Harris last night to inform him of his decision to step down.

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

“new opportunity in the party”

Simon Coveney also said that he was unsure if he would have been asked to be in Mr Harris’ Cabinet, but that it would be easier for everyone concerned if he stepped down.

“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”, stated Mr Coveney.

He continued, “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”. 

“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”. 

“a really talented person”

Speaking about Mr Harris, Simon Coveney said that he understands the pressure that he is facing as “the youngest Taoiseach ever”. 

Mr Coveney said, “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”. 

“I think it’s also a recognition by me too that Fine Gael needs renewal. We’re going to go into the next general election hoping to be in government for a fourth term,” he said.

He added: “I think a party needs to find a way of renewing itself, refreshing itself, bringing forward, new faces, new voices, new ideas. In many ways, when Leo Varadkar decided to step down a couple of weeks ago, he started that process”. 

“not for this week”

Simon Coveney was also asked if he would run in the next election, which he insisted that it was “not for this week”. 

“I’m a committed TD for Cork South-Central and will continue for foreseeable future”, he said. “It’s not a yes, or it’s not a no, it’s me just being honest about it. I have to decide what the future holds for me and how I can contribute,”.

“That’s something I’m not going to rush. It’s something, to be honest, I haven’t really thought about really because I’ve been so focused and busy with the various the jobs I’ve been lucky to have”. 

Simon Harris is set to assume office next week, following the resignation of Leo Varadkar last month.