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Deputy Tom Hayes has been appointed by the Government as Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Food and Marine, assuming the role held by the late Shane McEntee. He will have special responsibility for Forestry, Horticulture, the Greyhound Industry and Food Safety.

The new Minister of State is a beef farmer from Golden, Co Tipperary. He was first elcted to the Dáil in 2001 for Tipperary South and previously served as a member of Seanad Eireann from 1997 to 2001.

He has served as opposition spokesperson on Agriculture in the Seanad and, for eight years, as Chairperson of the Fine Gael Parliamentary Party. Since 2011, he has served as Chairperson of the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Transport and Communications.

Speaking on his appointment, Minister Hayes said he delighted with the opportunity and looks forward to working alongside the Minister Simon Coveney and other Government colleagues “on the continued development of these very important sectors”.