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Neale Richmond is named as new junior minister to replace Damien English after resignation

Neale Richmond. Picture by Tom Burke

Hugh O'Connell and Gabija

FINE Gael TD Neale Richmond has been appointed the new Minister of State in the Department of Enterprise following Damien English's resignation.

The Dublin Rathdown TD's appointment as Minister of State for Employment Affairs and Retail Business and the Department of Social Protection was appoved by Cabinet ministers over the phone on Friday morning

It follows Mr English's resignation on Thursday after he admitted lying on a planning permission application for his family home.

Mr Richmond, a former senator, was first elected to the Dáil in 2020 and is the second Fine Gael junior minister from the constituency where Josepha Madigan, the Minister of State for Special Education, is also based.

The constituency is also served at Cabinet level by Green Party deputy leader Catherine Martin, who is the Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said Mr Richmond is “exceptionally capable” and has been “to the forefront of issues arising from Brexit”.

He said Mr Richmond will work “closely” with enterprise Minister Simon Coveney and Social Protection Minister Heather Humphreys.

“I have also asked him to continue his focus on ensuring that the work permits system is operating effectively and allowing essential staff to come to Ireland. He will also be responsible for seeing through the reforms I initiated as Minister including sick pay and the move to a National Living Wage,” he said.

“Neale has worked closely with Irish industry on preparing for Brexit and dealing with its impact on supply chains. As a Senator, he helped to steer the important Brexit Omnibus Bill through the Oireachtas. I know that he will be an excellent Minister of State in both of these important Departments.”

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