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Harney resigns from ministerial role

Minister for Health joins Micheál Martin in resigning from cabinet, and says she will not contest the general election.

MINISTER MARY HARNEY HAS announced she has offered her resignation from cabinet.

She says she told the Taoiseach last week, but Brian Cowen asked her to hold off on making her decision public.

In an interview with RTÉ News, Harney said she will not be contesting the general election. She said she does not think it is appropriate for someone who will not run in the election to continue in cabinet.

Her resignation has been forwarded to the President McAleese by Cowen for its formal acceptance.

A TD for the Dublin Mid West constituency, Harney has been minister for health since 2004. She previously served as the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment. Harney became the first female leader of an Irish political party, with the PDs in 1993. She had been a founding member of the party, which dissolved in 2009.

Harney was the youngest ever member of the Seanad when appointed to it in 1977 by Taoiseach Jack Lynch. She was first elected to the Dáil in 1981 as a Fianna Fáil candidate, after spending two years on Dublin City Council.

Earlier today, the Taoiseach said he would take over the Foreign Affairs portfolio following Micheál Martin’s resignation from cabinet. No successor for Harney’s post has been announced.

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