Minister Information

Katherine Zappone

Katherine Zappone (; born 25 November 1953) is an American-Irish independent politician who served as Minister for Children and Youth Affairs from May 2016 to June 2020. She was a Teachta Dála (TD) for the Dublin South-West constituency from 2016 to 2020. She previously served as a Senator from 2011 to 2016, after being nominated by the Taoiseach. She was nominated by Taoiseach Enda Kenny to the 24th Seanad in 2011, having been recommended by Eamon Gilmore, the then leader of Fine Gael’s coalition partners, the Labour Party. With her Seanad nomination, she became the first openly lesbian member of the Oireachtas and the first member in a recognised same-sex relationship. She was elected to the Dáil for the Dublin South-West constituency at the 2016 general election, becoming the first openly lesbian TD and, by her own reckoning, the world’s 32nd lesbian to be elected to a national parliament. In May 2016, after a delay in government formation, due to prolonged talks, Zappone became Ireland’s first openly lesbian government Minister and the first Minister to have been openly gay at the time of appointment to cabinet, when Taoiseach Enda Kenny appointed her as the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs. She lost her seat at the general election of February 2020 and continued to serve as a minister until June 2020 on the election of a new government.