South Tipp Fine Gael TD Tom Hayes has been elevated to the ministerial ranks this morning.
The Golden Deputy, who has represented South Tipperary at a national level since his election to Seanad Eireann in 1997, will take the role of Minister of State for Forestry, Horticulture, the Greyhound Industry and Food Safety.
The position has been vacant since the sudden death of Minister Shane McEntee, last December.
Deputy Hayes was first elected to the Dail in 2001. While in the Seanad and Dail he has been party spokesperson on Agriculture. He also served as chairman of the Fine Gael parliamentary party.
He was appointed chairman of the Joint Administration Committee last summer and is also a member of the Joint Committee on Justice, Defence and Equality.
Minister Hayes was nominated by Taoiseach Enda Kenny this morning (Wednesday) and this was approved by the parliamentary party.
Mr Kenny said: “Tom Hayes has a deep understanding of the agriculture sector and I am confident that this, along with his political and farming experience, will equip him very well for this important and challenging role.”
Minister Hayes said he was delighted and honoured to serve as Minister of State and looks forward to working with Minister Simon Coveney and his government colleagues.