Government appoints Tom Hayes as new junior minister
THE Government has appointed a new junior minister to replace the late Shane McEntee in the Department of Agriculture.
Fine Gael Tipperary TD Tom Hayes has been appointed to the post.
Taoiseach Enda Kenny informed Fine Gael cabinet colleagues of his choice this morning, before telling the entire Cabinet at it weekly meeting, which has just started.
There has been a vacancy in the Department of Agriculture since Mr McEntee’s death just before Christmas.
Mr Hayes will have special responsibility for forestry, horticulture, the greyhound industry - popular in his native Tipperary - and food safety.
The new junior minister is a beef farmer from Golden, Co Tipperary and has served as a TD Tipperary South since his election in a by-election in 2001.
He was also a senator between 1997 and 2001, and was most recently chair for the Oireachtas Communications Committee, which investigated social media.
In a statement, Mr Kenny said: "Tom Hayes has a deep understanding of the agriculture sector and I am confident that this, along with his political and farming experience, will equip him very well for this important and challenging role."
Mr Hayes said he is "delighted and honoured" with his appointment.
"I look forward to working closely with Minister Simon Coveney and other government colleagues on the continued development of these very important sectors," he added.