Minister Helen McEntee with baby Michael Shane. PHOTO: Helen McEnee.

First picture of Minister Helen McEntee and newborn baby Michael Shane

Minister Helen McEntee has released the first picture of her baby boy, Michael Shane after giving birth last week. She also thanked wellwishers for their kind messages.

Little Michael Shane Hickey was in a hurry to make history and meet the world last week, when he became the first baby to be born to a serving cabinet Minister.

Minister McEntee and her husband, Paul Hickey are proud parents, following Michael's early arrival on Wednesday night, two weeks before his due date.

Michael weighed in at 7lbs 8oz, in the Rotunda Hospital, arriving the day after his Mum began her six months of maternity leave.

In a message on her social media platforms Minister McEntee said: A week old today.....

"Paul and I want to say a massive thanks for all the congratulations and nice wishes on the arrival of baby Michael Shane Hickey.

"He was determined not to give his mammy any time off, arriving over two weeks early, but we’re home and he’s doing great so we couldn’t ask for more x."

Tánaiste Leo Varadkar offered his congratulations in the Dáil, saying Ms McEntee and her husband Paul Hickey “have made history”.

“When it comes to equality and diversity it is often said that people need to see it before they know they can be it,” he said. “I hope that young women and girls will see today that in Ireland one can hold high office, take maternity leave, raise a family and be supported to do so.

“I accept 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.”

Deputy McEntee temporarily stepped aside on Tuesday as Minister for Justice to take maternity leave, but remains a member of Government, albeit serving as a Cabinet Minister without portfolio during the duration of her leave.

Minister McEntee last year became the first Cabinet minister in the history of the State to be pregnant while in office.

It led to fresh calls for maternity and paternity leave for politicians, with a Citizens' Assembly now recommending that maternity leave be introduced for all elected representatives.

Heather Humphreys, meanwhile, has been assigned the Justice brief while Minister McEntee is on leave.

Helen McEntee will then be reappointed as justice minister when she returns to work on 1st November.