Fine Gael TD, Leo Varadkar, has been confirmed as the new Minister for Health, following a Cabinet reshuffle.
Deputy Varadkar (35) will take over from Fine Gael's Dr James Reilly who had held the position since March, 2011. Dr Reilly had also been Fine Gael's spokesperson on health since 2007. He has been moved to the Department of Children and Youth Affairs.
Dr Reilly had faced increasing criticism in recent months due to his poor performance in managing the health budget, his failure to cut waiting lists and the recent debacle over the removal of discretionary medical cards from seriously ill people, including children.
It was widely speculated that he would be moved from the Department of Health, previously referred to as ‘Angola' because of the difficulties faced by any TD who takes up the post.
Deputy Varadkar, a TD for Dublin West, was appointed Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport in March 2011. He was first elected to Dail Eireann in 2007 and is also a former Fine Gael spokesperson on enterprise, trade and employment, and communications, energy and natural resources.
He is a qualified GP having trained in Trinity College Dublin , however in recent years, he has worked solely in politics. His father is a GP, his mother is a nurse and two of this sisters also work in health, one as a consultant in the UK and one as a midwife.
Deputy Varadkar is known for being an outspoken politician.
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