‘You always leave feeling there’s something you didn’t get to do but I’m trying to make sure I get everything done’

The last time she went on maternity leave before the birth of her son Michael in May of last year, Justice Minister Helen McEntee made history by being the first cabinet minister to do so.

It involved all sorts of head scratching and deliberations on how this would actually work with no provision in legislation for a minister to take maternity leave. But a way around it was found nonetheless by leaving Minister McEntee as a Minister without a portfolio, and Minister Heather Humphreys took up her brief while she was on leave.

This time around, with the precedent in place, there was far less talk and without any fuss Minister McEntee fulfilled her last day of engagements on Friday before beginning her leave.

She began her last day on her local patch in Nobber where she unveiled images and a walk through tour of the long-awaited school building which is out for tender and due to start construction next summer. Then it was on to Dublin for the unveiling of the Military Road Garda Headquarters before going on to Wexford to turn the sod on a new women's refuge.

Speaking to the Meath Chronicle on her last day Minister McEntee said she had a busy week and as trying to get everything finished up before she went on leave.

"It has been a busy week was I a bit under the weather earlier in the week. I'm just trying to make sure I get everything done. You always leave feeling there's something you didn't get to do but I'm trying to make sure get everything done.” Once she gets finished up, Minister McEntee said she would be turning her attention to "getting her hospital bag packed, the babygrows washed and the house sorted".

A cabinet reshuffle due to be announced on 17th December and Minister McEntee has been open on her wish to stay in the brief.

Whether she returns to the Justice brief when her maternity leave ends, will soon become clear.