Simon Harris outlines his leadership credentials

Minister for Health dismisses idea he is too young to take charge if top FG job arises

Minister for Health Simon Harris: “Age to me is immaterial. I look to be judged on my job, and the job that I am doing.” Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Minister for Health Simon Harris: “Age to me is immaterial. I look to be judged on my job, and the job that I am doing.” Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

 

Minister for Health Simon Harris has listed the credentials which would make him an ideal candidate to take over as leader of Fine Gael, and has dismissed any suggestion he would be too young to take charge if an opportunity arose.

Mr Harris, speaking at University Hospital Galway (UHG) on Monday, stressed that there was no vacancy at this time. However, he said he had displayed a leadership role throughout his political life, and the 30-year old said his age was not a factor.

“Age to me is immaterial. I look to be judged on my job and the job that I am doing, and I am working as hard as I possibly can at that job,” said Mr Harris.

“I try to provide leadership in whatever role I am given, whether I was Minister for the OPW, Minster for State for the Department of Finance. I am a TD for six years, county councillor before that, and now a member of Government as Minister for Health for the last 10 months.

“There is no vacancy in the Fine Gael party. If and when one does arise I will consult with colleagues at that point.

On with the job

“I am sure there are many colleagues who consider it [leadership].”

Mr Harris was visiting the Galway hospital where he announced that the emergency department was set for an upgrade over the coming months.

The department suffers from overcrowding, with regular “code red” and “code black” status symbols urging patients not to attend the department unless it is absolutely necessary.

“We have now sanctioned the design stage for a new emergency department here at Galway University Hospital,” said Mr Harris. “It’s the first phase of a very important process to bring about a much-needed investment in the emergency department.

“The first thing we need to do is get the design completed. That needs to be completed in time for the summer. And I would hope to be in a position to provide capital as part of the mid-term capital review.”