Mary Coughlan, formerly the Republic of Ireland’s minister of social and family affairs, has become the country’s minister of agriculture and food.
She replaces Joe Walsh, who has retired.
Walsh held the post for 10 years. Under his guidance, Ireland became the first EU member state to decide on full decoupling separating direct farm subsidies from production. He also helped steer the Irish food and farming industry through the crisis surrounding foot and mouth disease.
Speaking at the Irish parliament, where he also announced other ministerial changes, Taoiseach Bertie Ahern said: “His calm and effective handling of a crisis which had the potential to cause major damage to the whole economy rightly earned him the plaudits of Deputies on all sides of this House.”