Reaction from Northern Ireland as Simon Harris is appointed as Taoiseach

Simon Harris has become the youngest ever Taoiseach at just 37 years old. His appointment comes after Leo Varadkar's shock announcement last month that he would step down from the position after being re-appointed to the role in December 2022.

After meeting with President Higgins yesterday, Simon Harris has become the youngest-ever Taoiseach.

The new Irish Prime Minister was elected in the Dáil by 88 votes to 69.

Former Taoiseach Leo Varadkar resigned from the position last month in a shock announcement.

First Minister Michelle O’Neill and Deputy First Minister Emma Little-Pengelly spoke with the new Taoiseach on Wednesday to congratulate him on his appointment.

Emma Little-Pengelly said, “Positive call today with new Taoiseach Simon Harris. I wished him well on his new role, emphasised respecting the careful balance of the Belfast (Good Friday) Agreement, as amended by St Andrew and Strand approach.”

She continued, “I want us to be good neighbours with a better relationship.”

Leader of the Alliance Party <a href=tagnaomi long>Naomi Long<a> extended her congratulations to Simon Harris on becoming the new Taoiseach

The MLA for East Belfast said, “I want to congratulate Simon Harris on becoming Taoiseach and wish him all the best in his new role.

“The tenure of his predecessor Leo Varadkar saw a close and productive working relationship further progressed between Northern Ireland and the Republic, and I am confident Mr Harris will continue to nurture this positive partnership between the North and South.

“In the coming days and weeks ahead, we will continue to work together with those across the political spectrum with the aim of strengthening co-operation across the island of Ireland, and I look forward to working with Mr Harris as part of that.”

Ulster Unionist leader Doug Beattie told Cool FM News that he “genuinely wants to have a friendship with the Republic of Ireland” following Simon Harris’ appointment.

SDLP leader <a href=httpsnielectscomtagcolum eastwood data type=post tag data id=37>Colum Eastwood<a> said that he looked forward to working with the Taoiseach to strengthen North South cooperation

The MP for Foyle said, “I want to offer my warm congratulations to Simon Harris as he takes up the office of Taoiseach. It is a huge honour and challenge to lead our country and we are all invested in his success.

“Over the last number of years I’ve had the opportunity to work with the new Taoiseach on a number of projects, including securing €45 million of additional investment through the Shared Island Fund to support the expansion of university provision in Derry. I know that he has an abiding interest in the North and has worked in previous cabinet roles to provide support, investment and enhanced services on a North South basis.

“I look forward to working with the Taoiseach to strengthen North South cooperation, which has suffered as a result of the suspension of devolution in the North, to build on the work of the Shared Island Unit and to continue the important work of bringing the people and traditions that share our island together.”

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said, “As the closest of neighbours, I look forward to forging even stronger ties between our two countries so we can deliver for people across these isles.”

Secretary of State for Northern Ireland Chris Heaton-Harris said that he wishes Simon Harris “all the best” as he settles into his new role, and he “looks forward to working together as we further strengthen UK-Ireland cooperation.”

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