Ageism in politics is 'pathetic', says Simon Harris

The 29-year-old is the youngest Minister in government

Ageism in politics is 'pathetic', says Simon Harris

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Minister for Health Simon Harris has said the agesim in Irish politics is "kind of pathetic".

He was responding to criticisms about his age that came about following his appointment to the Department of Health in May.

Speaking on Newstalk Breakfast, the first-time minister stated: "Nobody brings in older ministers and says 'we're about to have the oldest minister in the state on radio', but anytime I come on radio there's great excitement about my age.

"We have a young population in this country and we have a right to have our views and our voices heard within Government and I take that responsibility seriously."

He added: "I want to be judged on my record and my ability to do the job."

In response to comments about his suitability for the role as a 29-year-old TD with a journalism degree, he said: "What I say to those people is, I come to the department of health with no vested interests or no baggage, other than the interests of patients.

"I am not one of those politicians who is going to go around bemoaning the fact that I am Minister for Health - I'm really excited about it.

"I think it's a great department that can have a really positive impact on peoples lives."

The Minister also acknowledged that the health service has taken a "real battering" in recent years.

"We've got to now reinvest and I am very lucky to be in a position where I can preside over that period of reinvestment."

The Cabinet last week announced that the Department of Health will receive an additional €450 million for its budget.