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Incoming Taoiseach Simon Harris and Leo Varadkar Alamy Stock Photo
Simon Harris

Today we get a new Taoiseach - here's a rundown of how it's going to go

You can follow the latest throughout the day on The Journal’s liveblog.


THIS AFTERNOON, SIMON Harris will become Ireland’s 15th Taoiseach.

For the Taoiseach-in-waiting it will be a jam-packed day, but fear not, we will be bringing you all the latest as it happens here on The Journal. 

Yesterday, at 6pm Leo Varadkar arrived at Áras an Uachtaráin to officially tender his resignation as Taoiseach – although technically he remains in the job until Simon Harris takes the reins later today. 

Here’s how things will go: 

The Journal will be kicking off its liveblog from 8am, but 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.

Ministers of State (Junior Ministers) will not be confirmed until Cabinet meets tomorrow. 

Who’s expected to be in the Cabinet? 

What we know for sure is that there are two senior ministerial positions up for grabs – Simon Harris’s Further and Higher Education portfolio and Simon Coveney’s Enterprise portfolio. 

Coveney announced last week that he would be stepping aside from Cabinet when the Dáil returned after the Easter break.

There’s also a vacancy to be filled arising from Josepha Madigan’s decision to step down as Minister of State for Special Education.

In the last couple of weeks, speculation has been rife over what way Simon Harris will choose to fill his cabinet, but the Fine Gael leader has been tight-lipped on his intentions. 

Some have speculated that Justice Minister Helen McEntee may be at risk of demotion or moved into another department, however when asked about this possibility at the weekend, Harris said: 

“I will be putting together the very best team. My colleague and friend Minister McEntee is a very important part” of Fine Gael.

Over the weekend, talk that she is to be moved out of justice has subsided somewhat.

It’s understood that Harris is set to place a renewed focus on the brief of Minister of State with responsibility for EU Affairs.

That junior ministerial gig is already under the Department of the Taoiseach but Harris wants to maximise the role and will fill it with someone he feels can communicate major EU issues like security and migration at home. 

Given the three vacancies to be filled, some backbenchers may get the nod to move up the ladder as part of Harris’s reshuffle. 

Longford-Westmeath TD and Minister of State for European Affairs, Peter Burke is one of the names most frequently cited for a potential promotion alongside his colleague Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown TD and Minister of State for Financial Services, Credit Unions and Insurance Jennifer Carroll MacNeill.

Minister of State at the Department of Enterprise Neale Richmond is also tipped for a promotion. 

Richmond was notably the first TD to publicly offer his support to Harris as Taoiseach and may be expecting his loyalty to be rewarded. 

Minister of State with responsibility for the Office of Public Works Patrick O’Donovan is also being talked about as a potential candidate for promotion, particularly for geography reasons, as is Cork-North Central TD Colm Burke.

Meanwhile, Emer Higgins, a TD for Dublin Mid West, is currently Fine Gael’s equality spokesperson and may be a potential runner for the special education vacancy. 

You can keep up with all the latest as it happens by following our liveblog throughout the day. 

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