Simon Coveney (born 16 June 1972) is an Irish Fine Gael politician who has served as Tánaiste since November 2017, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade and Deputy Leader of Fine Gael since June 2017. He has been a Teachta Dála (TD) for the Cork South-Central constituency since 1998. He previously served as Minister for Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government from 2016 to 2017, Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine from 2011 to 2016 and Minister for Defence from 2014 to 2016. He served as a Member of the European Parliament (MEP) for the South constituency from 2004 to 2007. Coveney was born in Cork and completed a BSc. in Agriculture from the Royal Agricultural College, having earlier studied at University College Cork. He spent several years working as an agriculture adviser and farm manager. He was elected to Dáil Éireann in a by-election, following the death of his father Hugh Coveney. After an initial period on the backbenches, Coveney was promoted to the Front Bench by Michael Noonan, as deputy chief whip, remaining in this position until a 2002 reshuffle, when he became Spokesperson on Communications, Marine and Natural Resources under Enda Kenny. A three-year period in the European Parliament was followed by a return to domestic politics in 2007, when he was appointed Spokesperson on Communications, Energy and Natural Resources. A 2010 reshuffle of the Front Bench saw him take over as Spokesperson on Transport. After the formation of the coalition government in March 2011, Coveney was appointed Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine. A cabinet reshuffle in July 2014, saw him also take over the position of Minister for Defence. Following the formation of a Fine Gael minority government in May 2016, he was appointed Minister for Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government. In June 2017, after Leo Varadkar succeeded Enda Kenny as Taoiseach, Varadkar appointed Coveney as Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade and Deputy Leader of Fine Gael. He was appointed Tánaiste (Deputy Prime Minister) in November 2017, following the resignation of Frances Fitzgerald.