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As it happened: Taoiseach Simon Harris receives seal of office from President Higgins

The nomination of Harris as Taoiseach passed a vote in the Dáil by 88 votes to 69.


TAOISEACH SIMON HARRIS has received his seal of office from President Michael D Higgins, formalising his election as head of government

The nomination of Harris as Taoiseach passed a vote in the Dáil by 88 votes to 69 after he was  proposed by Heather Humphreys. Leaders from all parties rose to either support or oppose the nomination. 

After a quick trip to the Áras, Harris returns to Government Buildings to appoint ministers to Cabinet. 

Here’s how the morning played out.

From our political reporter Jane Matthews this morning, here’s a rundown of the schedule for the day:

Things won’t officially get started in Leinster House until 10.30am when the Dáil will commence.

TDs will then cast their vote on whether or not they want to see Simon Harris become Taoiseach.

This is more of a formality at this stage, given the Government’s majority in the house.

It is, however, a slim majority of just 81 and that’s why Simon Harris was spotted camped out last week in the Dáil’s canteen where he attempted to sure up Independent votes.

After the Dáil voting process is complete, Simon Harris will then make his way to Áras an Uachtaráin where he will be formally appointed Taoiseach by President Micheal D. Higgins.

After this, Simon Harris is then expected to begin summoning his new Cabinet members before the Dáil begins again at 5pm.

It is expected that the new Cabinet members will be voted for and approved by the Dáil before it is adjourned at 7pm.

While Harris’ appointment as Taoiseach is a fairly straightforward process, what’s less certain yet is who he will place into ministerial roles.

Fine Gael has control of Enterprise, Public Expenditure, Social Protection, Higher Education, and Justice.

Harris leaving Higher Education to become Taoiseach frees up one of those ministerial roles for promotion, while Simon Coveney’s resignation as Minister for Enterprise opens another slot.

Harris will also promote a couple of backbenchers to junior minister roles. These will be confirmed at Cabinet tomorrow rather than in the Dáil today.

Our Political Editor Christina Finn reports that Harris is expected to place a renewed focus on the European affairs brief with someone he rates highly who can communicate major EU issues like security and migration at home. 

Before he travelled to the Áras to hand in his resignation yesterday evening, Leo Varadkar gave his last media interview to RTÉ’s Six One News in which he defended his record in office and sought to highlight what he sees as his achievements.

He also said that Ireland had a positive economic outlook that is“the envy of Europe and the envy of the world”.

“Maybe we take it a bit for granted now – I don’t think we should – but it gives us the possibility to invest in health, housing, education to an extent that other countries can’t, we couldn’t in the past,” he said. 

As his final hurrah, Varadkar is expected to make a farewell speech to the Dáil after 10am this morning to kick off the proceedings.

There’s international interest in Simon Harris’ appointment today.

The New York Times, trying to explain to an American audience how the Fine Gael leader will become the head of government, writes: “Mr. Harris was propelled to the leadership of Fine Gael by the surprise resignation of his predecessor, Leo Varadkar, last month. The party governs Ireland in coalition with two others, and Mr. Harris will become taoiseach (pronounced TEE-shock), or prime minister because of a quirk of the coalition arrangement rather than a reflection of any national public endorsement.”

The newspaper says that Simon Harris”has already been nicknamed the TikTok Taoiseach because of his enthusiastic posting on the social video app”.

“In one shaky selfie, he invites viewers to join him for a quick chat while out for a walk. A supercut overlaid with the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ “Can’t Stop” was posted this week, showing Mr. Harris holding babies and shaking hands while campaigning,” writes international correspondent Megan Specia from London.

“The videos can feel earnest and occasionally awkward. But there is an informality about them that may resonate with voters, analysts said.”

Simon Harris NYT The New York Times The New York Times

In addition to the Government parties, several Independent TDs have confirmed they will back Simon Harris as Taoiseach.

His election in the Dáil is still a point of contention for Opposition parties, however, who had called for a general election to decide the future of the country’s leadership.

In a statement this morning, People Before Profit-Solidarity TD Mick Barry said that the public deserves a “chance to vote for change”.

“But thanks to six Independent TDs and two TDs who have lost the whip, the Government will prevent a knife-edge vote, prevent a general election, and get Simon Harris over the line,” Barry said.

Harris gave Fine Gael members a look at his priorities for his term as Taoiseach on Saturday at the party’s Ard Fheis in Galway.

He touched on issues like housing, farming, climate, security, migration and the upcoming local and EU elections.

“I promise we will deliver with a new energy. Now, let’s get to work,” he said.

Sinn Féin TD Mairéad Farrell has also criticised Independent TDs for pledging their support for Harris ahead of the Dáil sitting.


Tánaiste Micheál Martin, the leader of Fianna Fáil, said a few brief words to media on his way into the Dáil:

“I want to wish Simon Harris the very best and I look forward to working with him in the aftermath of him being elected Taoiseach today.

“We’re very focused on the Programme for Government, on housing, on getting the planning bill through, the future funds bill through to protect for future pensions and health care costs.

“There’s a lot of work to be done over the next 12 months and we want to put people first and work hard for the people over the next 12 months.”

Gardaí have closed roads near Leinster House to traffic as politicians arrive at the Dáil.

IMG_7807 Christina Finn / The Journal Christina Finn / The Journal / The Journal

IMG_7808 Christina Finn / The Journal Christina Finn / The Journal / The Journal

On his way into the Dáil, Donegal TD Joe McHugh said he would like to see Simon Harris make changes to the mica redress scheme. He also said he wants to see progress on the road networks in the northwest.

McHugh, who previously resigned the Fine Gael parliamentary party whip, said Harris has invited him back to the party, as had Leo Varadkar beforehand.


IMG_7488 TD Joe McHugh Jane Matthews / The Journal Jane Matthews / The Journal / The Journal

Green Party TD Marc Ó Cathasaigh said that “as long as the new Taoiseach is in support of the Programme for Government, we’ll [the Greens] be happy to give him our support”.

As Fine Gael faces internal bickering over the future of the party, Ó Cathasaigh said he would not “engage in some of the narrative coming from the backbenches of Fine Gael” but focus on issues in the Programme for Government, including climate and biodiversity. 

IMG_7489 TD Marc Ó Cathasaigh Jane Matthews / The Journal Jane Matthews / The Journal / The Journal

Leo Varadkar says farewell

The Dáil proceedings are now commencing with Leo Varadkar addressing the chamber.

He says that being Taoiseach “has been the most fulfilling and rewarding time of my life”.

He offers “special thanks” to his constituents in Dublin West.

He also commended the work of the three-party coalition government and said it should serve as a model for future coalitions in Ireland and internationally.


Varadkar final speech

Varadkar is touching on multiple policy areas that he sees as being crucial for Ireland’s future over the coming years, including health and security, as well as the need to reduce toxicity and “coarseness” in political discourse.

He recounts conversations that he has had as Taoiseach in the wake of Russia’s war on Ukraine with other European leaders about their fears of further aggression in Europe.

Varadkar says he hopes they are wrong but argues that Ireland’s neutrality is not enough to protect the country and that “we have to be prepared for the consequences of an attack on an EU country and how we would respond to that”.

Varadkar “always knew” Simon Harris would be Taoiseach, he says, adding though that it has come sooner than the younger TD might have expected – that draws a nod of agreement from Harris as Varadkar brings his remarks to a close.



“This is not, I assure you, a jamboree.”

Inspiring words from Cathaoirleach Seán Ó Fearghaíl as he pushes back on Opposition criticism of the Dáil proceedings.

Our Political Editor Christina Finn, who has a bird’s eye view of proceedings from the Dáil gallery, reports that Simon Harris’s family – his mum, dad and brother and sister arrived earlier and were greeted by the incoming Taoiseach.

His children were there also – “he gave a big kiss to his youngest”.

Harris’s back room team are also in the public gallery overlooking proceedings – they are seated next to Leo Varadkar’s outgoing team, Christina reports.

In the wake of Varadkar’s speech the Dáil called a vote on day’s agenda. 

Harris moved back up to the distinguished guests section during the vote to chat to his family and children.  

Pictured: Sinn Féin TDs watch Leo Varadkar make his remarks in the Dáil. Pearse Doherty turns to Mary Lou McDonald and shakes his head as Varadkar tries to set out reasons for the existing shortages in housing.


SF 9424

Here’s a clip for you now too on that “jamboree” debacle: 


Morning, Rónán Duffy here for the next few hours as Simon Harris has his big moment in the Dáil. 

It could be well over an hour before there’s an actual vote but there is a lot of formality to go through first, not least Harris being nominated. 

We’ll keep our eyes peeled for anything going on in the Dáil chamber, with our Political Editor Christina Finn in place in the gallery.

Heather Humphreys proposes Simon Harris as Taoiseach


Heather Humphreys prompts laughs in the Dáil when she says that when she first saw Simon Harris in Leinster House she thought he was “a young lad walking around on a school tour.”

Both she and Harris were first elected in 2011. 

“Imagine my surprise a few moments later, when I saw him standing up to nominate Enda Kenny as Taoiseach,” she says.

Onto the serious bit, she says: 

I have served alongside Simon in three different Cabinets and I witnessed first-hand the qualities on the strengths that I know he would bring to the Office of Taoiseach. He is somebody who listens and works with people and he’s always willing to take on new ideas. 

Peter Burke seconds the proposal of Harris as Taoiseach


Junior Minister Peter Burke, who is being tipped for a move to Cabinet, seconds the proposal of Harris as Taoiseach.

“It is is a huge honor to have Simon’s wife, Caoimhe, to have his children Cillian and Saoirse here, they know what Simon is capable of. We know what Simon is capable of.”


Political Editor Christina Finn reports from Leinster House: 

Laughter in Dail as Micheál Martin says listening to Varadkars ‘reflections’ on his time in government he wonders if a publication or book is on the cards, joking that he awaits it with ‘trepidation’.

Micheál Martin says Fianna Fáil will support the nomination of Simon Harris as Taoiseach

An Tánaiste takes a few swipes at the opposition for their criticism of the election of harris. 

“It is an unfortunate reality that much of the opposition has committed itself to a type of politics which is obsessed with fake outrage and attacking,” he says. 

He adds that calls for a general election in the last while have been absurd. He says he was amazed by brazenness of largest opposition party Sinn Fein, criticises how they typically elect their party leader 

Eamon Ryan: 'We’re only warming up'


Laughter in Dail as Eamon Ryan says ‘we’re only warming up’. 

In a contribution that has a much angrier tone than those that have gone before, the Green Party leader engages in a strong defence of the government of which he is part. 

Political Editor Christina Finn reports from Leinster House:

Sinn Fein members Eoin Ó Broin and Pearse Doherty hold their heads in their hands as Eamon Ryan says Darragh O’Brien has turned around housing. Quips from Sinn Fein tell minister to look at the homeless figures, while another SF TD can be heard telling Eamon ‘to go back asleep’.

Mary Lou McDonald: 'Today, for the third time in four years, you present your choice.'



Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald begins her speech by saying that this is a “great country” and that “real change” is needed.

When all is said and done, politics in the end is about choices and good politics is about making the right choices. Today, for the third time in four years, you present your choice for Taoiseach. For the third time you rearrange the Cabinet deckchairs for the third time in four years. You pat each other on the back and tell people what a great job you’re doing.

McDonald continues:

You pass the keys to the Taoiseach’s office one more time. But let’s be very clear about what’s happening today. This isn’t about what’s good for Ireland, this isn’t about what’s good for the people. It’s about what’s good for you.

“It’s your century old cozy club, circling the wagons once again, to cling to power at all costs. I believe that people of Ireland deserve so much better.”

Political Editor Christina Finn reports from Leinster House:

Harris’ family look on as Mary Lou McDonald lists the failures Harris stood over in Health, mentioning the promises made to children with scoliosis that they would be treated within four months – a promise she said was ‘disgracefully’ broken again and again.

She goes on to say that Harris continues to say, “I have your back”, but she says the people in their 30s in the box room of their parents don’t feel that.

‘You have Jonathan Dowdall’s back’ is heard being shouted from the FG backbenches.

Ivana Bacik: 'There's a lot of talk about 'A New Energy', it sounds like a Star Wars tagline'


Labour leader Ivana Bacik is up now and she’s lamenting what she sees as a lack of urgency among the Fine Gael-Fianna Fáil- Green Party government.

Speaking about Simon Harris’ speech to his party Ard Fheis, she says

There’s a lot of talk about, ‘A New Energy’, it sounds like a Star Wars tagline. But where is that new energy in reality to deliver on housing, on health care and childcare, on climate action and workers rights and disability rights.

“Where is the drive the ambition, the courage to deliver the change that people really need to deliver in Ireland the true works.”

“Today’s vote we know is a foregone conclusion, but how the incoming Taoiseach uses his new position is key. This government cannot pretend that this is business as usual.”

Holly Cairns:



Holly Cairns begins contribution by acknowledging Leo Varadkar’s dedication to public service and the sacrifices he and his partner have made, which she says deserves to be acknowledged.

On Varadkar’s final working day in the Dail as Taoiseach, Cairns was criticised by some for heavily criticising Varadkar during his last Leaders’ Questions. 

Cairns then goes on to say that the “political will and determination” will be needed to “change course”. 

“The state needs to stop outsourcing its responsibilities to the private sector.
essential public services like healthcare and disability services are fundamental human rights,” she says. 

After a lengthy speech, Cairns of course confirms that the Social Democrats will not be supporting Harris’ nomination as Taoiseach. 

“We want a new approach and for that we need to change the government,” she says.  


You may have noticed that Simon Harris is wearing a purple rose pin today as he’s , as is Tánaiste Micheál Martin. 

The rose is for 65 Roses Day, the National Fundraising Day for Cystic Fibrosis Ireland.

You can find out more about the charity here.

'Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.'


Richard Boyd-Barrett says he watched Harris’ Ard Fheis speech and heard that Harris rightly said he was repulsed by Netanyahu actions. However, the PBP TD pointed out that Fine Gael voted down a motion to enact the Occupied Territories Bill.

“Thanks for watching anyway,” Fine Gael TD Paul Kehoe can be heard saying. 

 Political Editor Christina Finn reports from Leinster House: 

Harris laughs along when PBP TD Mick Barry mentions the “you ain’t seen nothing yet” song that Harris used at the Ard Fheis, and suggests he should have used The Who song, ‘We won’t be fooled again” which ends with the line ‘meet the new boss, same as the old boss. ‘

“You should bring a turntable next time,” concludes Ceann Comhairle Seán Ó Fearghaíll. 


Aontú leader Peadar Tóibín TD says what we’re seeing today “is the election of a caretaker Taoiseach.”

He goes through a catalogue of what he cites as being failures by Harris’, particularly as Minister for Health. Specifically, he mentions “the billions of overspend in the National Children’s Hospital” and hat he says was a failure to “meet with the nursing home sector” during the early days of Covid. 

Danny Healy-Rae is nominating his brother Michael Healy-Rae as Taoiseach instead of Harris


In a surprise turn of events, Danny Healy-Rae TD wants to propose his brother Michael Healy-Rae TD as an alternative Taoiseach to Harris. 

He says his brother has “represented Kerry here in this chamber for many many years” and that he represents “a proper independent choice”. 

Fine Gael’s Paul Kehoe TD, who is on a roll with the quips says: “You’d make a great Tanaiste, Danny.”

Mattie McGrath seconds the nomination of Michael Healy-Rae before going on to call for an election. 

What it all means, basically, is that these independent TDs won’t be among those who support Harris as Taoiseach. He already has plenty on board anyway

We now have successive independents standing up saying they will or will not be supporting Harris. 

Don’t worry, we’re getting towards the meaty end of it soon. 


And here we go! The Dáil is currently voting on the nomination of Simon Harris as Taoiseach. 


We’re now into a roll call vote.

Each TD will be called in turn to say either Tá or Níl for Harris to be Taoiseach.

Clerk of the Dáil Peter Finnegan has now gone through each member. The votes are being checked. 

We know what the result will be but it adds to the tension a touch. 

Simon Harris elected Taoiseach in Dáil by 88 votes to 69

There it is!

After the roll call vote, Simon Harris has been officially nominated by the Dáil by 88 votes to 69 to be the next Taoiseach. 

He must now travel to Áras an Úachtaráin to be appointed as Taoiseach by President Michael D Higgins.

“This is very much a partnership government,” Harris says as he accepts the nomination. 

He goes on to thank his predecessor Leo Varadkar and Simon Coveney, who are both leaving Cabinet. 

“Today is indeed a very special day for me. When I started campaigning on issues close to my heart and got involved in politics. I chose this life, but my family didn’t.”

“I promise to preside over a government committed to public service as a time when such commitment is so urgently required, I believe.”

“Today, Ceann Comhairle, I accept this new role in a spirit of humility, ready for the challenge.”

Harris: "This is a time of great challenge."

“This is a time of great challenge. It’s a time in the world where leadership matters. In Ukraine we see brave and courageous people standing firm against unprovoked foreign aggression. In Gaza, we are witnessing a humanitarian catastrophe and we are seeing innocent children women and men being starved and slaughtered. “

Harris: 'I will provide a new leadership and a new energy.'

More from Harris: 


Today, I sincerely promise to be a Taoiseach for all, no matter your political persuasion. I will work with you and for you and for the country that I know we all love. I will be a Taoiseach who will listen and my message is simple, I want to work every day to improve the lives of all in this country. Fueled by hope and driven by a vision of a better Ireland, I will provide a new leadership and a new energy. I intend to act decisively in the best interest of our people. 

Harris speaking about history: 

Going back centuries, our shared history is more than simply a narrative of oppression and resistance and the courageous triumph over adversity. It is a story about belief in each other, of faith in the future. The Irish story is a story of hope, a spirit of optimism sustained us in the darkest of days.

And today once again, we must ensure it lights our way forward. Let us not make the mistake of giving into pessimism and despair about our future. 

With the speech over and party colleagues waiting outside, our new Taoiseach-elect emerges. 

Political Editor Christina Finn got this shot, with the media a bit further back. 


Harris poses for photographs outside Leinster House before he’s driven to Áras an Úachtaráin. 

The Journal / YouTube


The X bio has been changed…..

Harris has now arrived at Áras an Úachtaráin

Taoiseach-elect has now arrived at Áras an Úachtaráin where he will officially become Taoiseach after a meeting with President Michael D Higgins. 

Harris will then travel back to Government Buildings where he will set about the job of selecting ministers. 

Harris is the third Taoiseach of this current Dáil, following Micheál Martin and Leo Varadkar, and even though there will be little change around the Cabinet table all ministers will need to reappointed under the new Taoiseach. 

There are however two free spots to be filled at the Cabinet table, following Harris’ own elevation from Minister for Higher Education and the decision of Simon Coveney to step down as Minister for Enterprise. 

Harris has received his seal of office from President Higgins and he now becomes Ireland’s newest Taoiseach. 


Harris is now en route to Government Buildings to make his first decisions as Taoiseach by appointing his Cabinet. 

At this point we’ll close this particular liveblog but will be beginning another for the latter part of the day, when those ministerial posts are revealed. 

Thank you for joining us on this historic day, as Ireland got its youngest ever Taoiseach in the form of Wicklow TD and Fine Gael leader Simon Harris. 

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