Simon Coveney has announced he is stepping away from cabinet.

Minister for Enterprise and Fine Gael deputy leader, Deputy Coveney said he let Taoiseach-in-waiting Simon Harris know on Monday night he does not wish to hold a position in his new cabinet to be announced next week.

Speaking on RTÉ Radio One’s Today with Claire Byrne this Tuesday morning, Coveney said following Leo Varadkar’s resignation as Taoiseach and Fine Gael leader, he has had time to think about his position.

“I’ve had a chance really to think about it from a personal point of view over Easter with my family.

“I’ve had an amazing 13 years at the centre of Government [serving at cabinet]. We’ve got lots of ambitious talent in the party and I’m going to now make it a bit easier.

“It may have happened anyway, I don’t know. I’ll make it a bit easier for Simon [Harris] to promote that talent now,” he said.

Political energy

The former Minister for Agriculture said his reasons for stepping back are different to those of Leo Varadkar.

“I have loads of energy at the moment, I’m as energised by politics as I’ve ever been. Sometimes you're confronted with the choices in life.

“We’ve had in many ways within Fine Gael a political earthquake over the last two weeks. Now that we have a new leader in charge, he’s finding his feet. He’s looking to appoint a new team around him that can give leadership for the country,” he added.

General election

When asked by Byrne, Coveney did not confirm whether or not he will run in the next general election.

“I’m a committed TD for Cork South Central, I intend on continuing to be that for the foreseeable future.

“I’ll talk to my own team and my constituency, our councillors over the summer,” he said.

In a post on X this Tuesday morning, Deputy Coveney said he would not be making himself available “to serve in cabinet when the Dáil resumes next week”.

“I’ll continue to work as a proud TD for Cork South Central and will of course actively support the Government in the Dáil,” he added.

Deputy Coveney served as Minister for Agriculture from 2011 to 2016, as well as Tánaiste from 2017 to 2020.

He has been a TD since 1998, barring the period he served as an MEP from 2004 to 2007.