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Harris says becoming Taoiseach ‘quite a rollercoaster’

today12/04/2024

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Harris says becoming Taoiseach ‘quite a rollercoaster’

He’s the youngest ever holder of the role

Simon Harris has said becoming Taoiseach has been “quite a rollercoaster”.

In his first broadcast interview since taking up the top role at Government, Mr Harris also said that the recent Cabinet reshuffle was “challenging”.

Asked about becoming Taoiseach, he said: “It’s been a little bit surreal. Look, it’s a great honour, it’s something that I find very humbling.

“And I’m conscious that I’m one of only 16 people in Ireland to have the honour to have been the Taoiseach of this great country and that means a lot to me, means a lot to my family.

“But I’m also very conscious that politics is never about you the office holder … it’s about the difference you can make for people.”

He said he first got involved in public life as a “moody opinionated teenager” campaigning for better school facilities for his brother with autism in Co Wicklow.

Mr Harris added: “So to go from there to here, it’s been quite a rollercoaster.

“But, I intend to give it my all.”

The Taoiseach was speaking to Keith Finnegan on his final day of broadcasting on Galway Bay FM.

Asked if he found it challenging to undertake his recent reshuffle of Fine Gael portfolios in Government, Mr Harris said: “Cabinet reshuffles are always quite challenging because you know everybody involved.

“I mean, I’ve been a member of the Dail now for 13 years, I’ve been in the Cabinet for eight years and these people, many of them are your friends, you know them, you know their families, you know how good they are and how hard they work.

“And what you’re trying to have to do though is, you’re trying to put together the best team you can.

“Of course, you’re conscious of a whole variety of things, geography and gender.

“But you’re also conscious of the need to drive on and get the people’s business done.

“And I had set out a number of areas that I wanted to make real progress in, um, between now and the next election in March and I wanted to put the best team in place to deliver those priorities.

“But yeah, it’s always a tense time and, look, I’ve been through this as a minister.

“It’s always a tense time wondering: ‘Will the phone ring and will I get a call from the Taoiseach and be asked to do a job?’

“But at the end of the day, outside the bubble we live in, people want to just know are you going to get on with fixing the issues that they’re facing in their own lives.”

Mr Harris said his priorities were around making “progress around small businesses” as well as farming, law and order, safer streets and housing.

He added: “I’m gonna need a bit of time to do that but I’m determined to hit the ground running.”

Published: by Radio NewsHub

Written by: Radio News Hub


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