Profile: Simon Coveney (FG)
Cork South-Central: Third TD elected of four
Simon Harris with Simon Coveney. Photograph: Alan Betson
Although Simon Coveney (46) backed Richard Bruton in the 2010 heave against party leader Enda Kenny, he was appointed Minister for Agriculture in what proved to be an inspired choice. Seen as a potential future leader, he knows the agriculture brief inside out and is an effective Dáil performer. When the Taoiseach subsequently added the Department of Defence to his portfolio in 2014 Coveney received praise from an unexpected quarter – Independent Socialist Clare Daly. Serious, hardworking and ambitious, he is not a populist politician. He came to politics in a 1998 byelection following the death of his father, Hugh Coveney. He obliged the party in 2004 when he successfully ran for the European Parliament, but returned to the Dáil in the 2007 general election.