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Simon Harris speaks after being confirmed as the new leader of Fine Gael. Alamy Stock Photo
New Job

Simon Harris has been announced as the new leader of Fine Gael

Harris is the only Fine Gael TD to put his name forward for the job.


SIMON HARRIS HAS been announced as the new leader of Fine Gael, paving his way to become Taoiseach. 

Harris is the only person to put their name forward for job, and he was formally announced as leader when the nominations closed today.

“It is the honour of my life to be here in Athlone to accept the leadership of this great party, the Fine Gael party,” he told delegates. 

Harris gave a speech this afternoon at the conclusion of the Midlands North-West European Election Selection Convention, where he outlined his key priorities.

The Dáil is currently in a two-week Easter recess, so Harris won’t be elected as Taoiseach at least until it returns on 9 April, following a party ard fheis on 6 April.

Harris announced his bid to become leader earlier this week, following Leo Varadkar’s shock resignation. He quickly secured the support of the majority sitting Fine Gael TDs.

If elected Taoiseach, he will become the country’s youngest leader at the age of 37. 

In his speech Harris said: “Thank you for your trust. I promise that I will repay that trust with hard work.

“With blood, sweat and tears – day in and day out. With responsibility, with humility and with civility.”

simon-harris-speaks-after-being-confirmed-as-the-new-leader-of-fine-gael-paving-the-way-for-him-to-become-irelands-youngest-premier-at-the-midlands-north-west-european-election-selection-convention Simon Harris speaks after being confirmed as the new leader of Fine Gael. Alamy Stock Photo Alamy Stock Photo

Harris attacked Sinn Fein and said that they “can’t handle the truth” that Fine Gael brought Ireland back to prosperity. 

The Fine Gael leader said that the party would lead with “integrity and security”.

“I want to drive progress and delivery in the time ahead. And I want this party to fight against populism and deliberate polarisation.

“We must and we will do this with civility, with honesty, with a determination to debate without rancour and personal demonisation. But let no one mistake my civility for lack of resolve,” he added. 

In his speech he said he supported An Garda Síochána and amid cheers he criticised the sight of the Irish tricolour on the coffin of garda killer Pearse McAuley. 

“Let’s take our flag back,” he added. 

He said Fine Gael stands for supporting businesses and “making work pay”.

“Fine Gael stands for balanced regional development and to those in rural Ireland, let me say this, we have your back.

“Fine Gael stands for law and order, on the side of An Garda Siochána, where our streets are safe and crime is never allowed go unchecked. Fine Gael stands for supporting the family farm and helping farmers to transition to meet the challenges of food security and climate change.

“And Fine Gael believes we need now to move from an emergency response to the migration crisis to a more planned, sustainable model, to a fair and firm system when it comes to migration,” he added.

Harris said he supports Ukraine and attacked Israel calling for a ceasefire in Gaza. He said he would make Ireland a “a force” on the globe. 

Harris said he will not allow people to “talk down” Ireland.  

He closed with an appeal to voters to support his party. 

“To those who vote Fine Gael, I thank you and commit to redoubling our efforts. To those who don’t vote Fine Gael but once did, I want to win back your trust and your vote.

“To those who never will vote Fine Gael, I will always respect you and will work for the common good of this country.

“I love this country and I will work every moment of every day to keep it safe and to deliver for people,” Harris added. 

With reporting from Niall O’Connor and Cormac Fitzgerald.

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