Gilmore names new front bench

Wed, Sep 19, 2007, 01:00

Labour Party leader Eamon Gilmore has named his predecessor Pat Rabbitte as spokesman on justice in his new front bench announced today.

The party's outgoing deputy leader Liz McManus has been moved from the health spokeswoman's role to the communications, energy and natural resources post.

Labour Party leader Eamon Gilmore
Labour Party leader Eamon Gilmore

The health spokesperson's role has been given to Jan O'Sullivan, one of the two candidates for the deputy leadership vacancy.

Former communications spokesman Tommy Broughan, who decided not to contest the Labour leadership recently, moves to transport.

Joan Burton, who is also running for the deputy leadership, is staying in the finance job, where she will continue to shadow Tanaiste and Minister for Finance Brian Cowen.

Brendan Howlin moves from justice to a new spokesperson's post on constitutional matters and law reform.

Galway West TD Michael D Higgins remains spokesman on foreign affairs.

Mr Gilmore included all his TDs in his front bench, including newly elected deputies Ciaran Lynch and Joanna Tuffy.

Emmet Stagg is to be Labour's chief whip, while the assistant chief whip's post goes to Cork East TD Sean Sherlock, son of the late Joe Sherlock.

Mr Gilmore also established three new policy bureaux, one each on economic affairs, social affairs and the environment. The three chairs of the committees are Sean Sherlock, Brian O'Shea and Joanna Tuffy.

The Labour Party leader said his new 'cabinet' contains a "blend of youth and experience that will enable Labour to keep the government to account in the Dáil and Seanad; to ensure the maximum possible profile for the party; and to facilitate the development of new ideas in key policy areas".

He said he had not felt the need to shadow exactly existing Government departments, which he said were often created simply as an "administrative convenience" for government.

"I have in a number of cases given deputies and senators responsibility for areas that I consider to be of particular importance, including human rights, constitutional and law reform, disability issues and the Irish language. Each of the three newly elected TDs has been given important portfolios and I have no doubt that they will rise to the challenge," he said.

Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny also unveiled his new front bench today.

The full Labour front bench is as follows:

Agriculture and Food:Sean Sherlock

Arts, Sport and Tourism:Mary Upton

Communications, Energy and Natural Resources:Liz McManus

Community and Rural Affairs:Jack Wall

Constitutional Matters and Law Reform:Brendan Howlin

Defence and the Irish language:Brian O'Shea

Disability Issues and Equality:Kathleen Lynch

Education and Science:Ruairi Quinn

Enterprise, Trade and Employment:Willie Penrose

Environment and Heritage:Joanna Tuffy

Europe and Human Rights:Joe Costello

Finance:Joan Burton

Foreign Affairs:Michael D. Higgins

Health:Jan O'Sullivan

Housing and Local Government:Ciaran Lynch

Justice:Pat Rabbitte

Social and Family Affairs:Roisin Shortall

Transport:Tommy Broughan

Chief Whip:Emmet Stagg

Assistant Whip:Brian O'Shea

Commuter Issues:Senator Dominic Hannigan

Consumer Affairs:Senator Brendan Ryan

Tourism:Senator Alan Kelly

Older People:Senator Phil Prendergast

Marine:Senator Michael McCarthy

Children:Senator Alex White