Mary Harney, the Minister for Health and Children has announced that she has tendered her resignation from the Cabinet and will not contest the upcoming General Election.

She announced today that she has offered her resignation to the Fianna Fail leader, Brian Cowen.

Three other ministers have now announced their resignation, Justice Minister Dermot Ahern, Transport Minister Noel Dempsey and Defence Minister Tony Kileen, according to TV3 News.

Foreign Affairs Minister Micheal Martin announced his resignation yesterday, which now leaves five ministerial posts vacant.

Ms Harney told RTE News she did not think it was appropriate for someone who was not running in the upcoming election to continue to serve in Cabinet.

Notifying the media of her resignation, she said she had informed the Prime Minister of her decision last week, but that he had requested her to hold off her announcement.

The former leader of the Progressive Democrats, she said she assumed her resignation would be accepted and that Brian Cowen already had to fill one vacancy at Cabinet, so he would fill her position at the same time.

When asked if she expected further resignations of Ministers, she said that was a matter for the individuals concerned.

Ms Harney has served as the Minister for Health since 2004.

She served as Tánaiste to the previous Prime Minister Bertie Ahern and was first elected to the Dáil in 1981.


Irish Minister for Health Mary Harney