Heather Humphreys says transferring letter of justice to Simon Harris while Helen McEntee is on maternity leave makes “perfect sense”.
Ms Humphreys, who previously held both the title and Minister for Rural and Community Development and Minister for Social Protection, acknowledged that three departments was “a lot” for one minister.
Ms Humphreys represented Ms McEntee for six months last year when she had her first child and served as minister with responsibility for three departments for a few weeks before Saturday’s cabinet reshuffle.
Although there were very few changes in the composition of the Cabinet yesterday, it came as a slight surprise that Mr Harris was to look after the Justice Department alongside the remit he retained as Secretary of Higher Education and Training.
“I have enjoyed my time at Justice. I was there with Helen for six months [McEntee] had her first baby. And I was there last month when Helen went on maternity leave again.
“As you know, I have two other departments there and while I’m always happy to serve in any role that’s asked of me, three departments is plenty and I think it made perfect sense when the opportunity to restructure came up to offset some of the workload,” Ms Humphreys told RTÉ’s News at One.
Asked what would be the difference in this government compared to the last two and a half years, the minister said housing is the “top priority” of this government.
Ms Humphreys admitted that young people “have to put important life decisions on hold” like buying a house because they can’t get up the real estate ladder in their early 30s.
Almost 11,400 people are now homeless in Ireland, the highest number ever recorded in the state.
“We have built 28,000 houses this year, which is more than any year for the past ten years, but we must do more, we know that and the Taoiseach said so yesterday,” said Msr. Humphreys.
The minister also alluded to the creation of a government unit specifically to tackle child poverty. There are currently 3,400 homeless children living in shelters in Ireland.
Ms Humphreys would not elaborate on the differences between Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil if asked how that government would be different going forward.
She said “there are differences,” but wouldn’t say what she thought those differences were.
“There are differences between the parties and we know it, but in saying this we are trying to work together in the interest of the people of this country to create stability,” she said.
https://www.independent.ie/news/three-departments-is-a-lot-heather-humphreys-says-it-made-absolute-sense-for-simon-harris-to-assume-justice-brief-42228285.html ‘Three departments is a lot’ – Heather Humphreys says it made ‘perfect sense’ for Simon Harris to take over the judiciary