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Irish Minister is first to give birth while in office 


Republic of Ireland Justice Minister Helen McEntee. Credit: Damien Eagers/PA

Republic of Ireland Justice Minister Helen McEntee. Credit: Damien Eagers/PA


Republic of Ireland Justice Minister Helen McEntee. Credit: Damien Eagers/PA

The Republic's Justice Minister Helen McEntee has become the first sitting Cabinet Minister in the history of the Irish State to give birth while in office.

A baby boy — Ms McEntee’s first child with husband Paul Hickey — was born in the Rotunda Hospital in Dublin on Wednesday night, weighing seven pounds and eight ounces, her spokesman confirmed.

Mother and baby are both doing well, he added.

The baby arrived just one day after Ms McEntee took maternity leave. However, she will remain a member of the Irish Government, serving as a Cabinet minister without portfolio until she returns.

Politicians rushed to congratulate Ms McEntee on her new arrival.

Paying tribute to her in the Dail, her party leader and Tanaiste Leo Varadkar said "history has been made today".

He said: "I would just like to join with you in offering my sincere and heartfelt congratulations to Helen McEntee, who was delivered of a baby boy last night, and also to her husband Paul Hickey.

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"They have made history. This is the first time that a serving member of government in Ireland has given birth.

"When it comes to equality and diversity it's often said that people need to see it before they know they can be it.

"I hope that young women and girls will see today that in Ireland you can hold high office, take maternity leave and raise a family, and be supported to do so.

"Of course we have more work to do in this area. But it is a positive day and history is being made today by the McEntee and Hickey family."

Taoiseach Micheal Martin tweeted: "Congratulations @HMcEntee and Paul on the birth of your wonderful baby boy. A time of great joy for you all. Enjoy! Wishing you every happiness, always."

Heather Humphreys, who will temporarily take over Ms McEntee's justice role, has also wished her well.

She tweeted: "It's a good job we had the handover a few days early! So delighted for @HMcEntee. A fantastic role model for young women. Helen might be the first serving Cabinet Minister to have a baby but she certainly won't be the last!"

It is expected that legislation will follow to allow serving politicians to take full maternity leave, with the arrangements in place for the Minister described as a "sticking plaster".

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