Full text of speech by Taoiseach Enda Kenny
‘We can say we have learned from the difficult past only if we make sure not to repeat it.’
Taoiseach Enda Kenny unveils his new Cabinet in the Dáil this afternoon.
A Cheann Comhairle, I wish to inform the House that the President, acting on my advice, has accepted the resignations of Deputy Pat Rabbitte, Deputy Ruairi Quinn, Deputy Eamon Gilmore, Deputy Phil Hogan and Deputy Jimmy Deenihan as members of the Government.
I move that Dail Eireann approves the nominations by the Taoiseach of Deputy Paschal Donohoe, Deputy Heather Humphreys, Deputy Alan Kelly, Deputy Jan O’Sullivan and Deputy Alex White for appointment by the President as members of the Government.
I also wish to inform the House that I am nominating Deputy Phil Hogan as Ireland’s next member of the European Commission.
I intend to nominate Deputy Jed Nash for appointment as Minister of State attending the Government and Minister of State at the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation with responsibility for Business and Employment.
I also intend to propose to the Government the appointment of Deputy Jimmy Deenihan as Minister of State at my Department and at the Department of Foreign Affairs with special responsibility for the Irish abroad.
Further appointments of ministers of state will be made by the Government in the near future.
I intend to assign the following responsibilities to the members of Government:
- Department of Defence to Deputy Simon Coveney, in addition to his current responsibilities.
- Department of Education and Skills to Deputy Jan O’Sullivan.
- Department of Foreign Affairs to Deputy Charlie Flanagan.
- Department of the Environment and Local Government to Deputy Alan Kelly.
- Department of Arts, Heritage and Gaeltacht to Deputy Heather Humphreys.
A Cheann Comhairle, I’d like to thank the outgoing members of the Cabinet for their service during what have been difficult times for our country.
Individually and collectively, these Ministers have played a major part in creating those all-important jobs for our people and in securing Ireland’s economic recovery.
I have already publically and deeply thanked the former Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore. As Tánaiste, over the last three years, he has been outstanding in the service of Ireland and the Irish people. As Minister for Foreign Affairs, he has been central to restoring Ireland’s international reputation. A restoration that has been vital for generating investor confidence and creating jobs.
Minister Pat Rabbitte’s upgrading of broadband infrastructure has seen Ireland move up the international league tables for high-speed connectivity, with all the attendant benefits for business, investment and jobs. Right now, hi-speed broadband is being installed in all secondary schools, with plans in place for new investment across rural Ireland.
Minister Ruairi Quinn’s passion for reform was the leitmotif of what has been an outstanding Ministerial career in various Governments. He took FAS and transformed it into a new service for training and further education that will help jobseekers get back into work. I wish him well in his retirement from politics. He will be missed.
Minister Phil Hogan has introduced some of the biggest reforms of Government during his tenure that will have lasting benefits long into the future. Issues such as local government reform; the effective banning of corporate donations; new building regulations; a new water service; dealing with ground water pollution from septic tanks; and climate change to name but a few. His record of implementing difficult, but necessary, change will stand to him as EU Commissioner, and I wish him well in his new role.
Minister Jimmy Deenihan’s tenure began what will be a successful decade of commemorations marking Ireland’s path to independence. He made major progress on the inherited and long-ignored issue of protecting our national bogs. Here, he negotiated with considerable sensitivity the plan to fulfil our environmental responsibilities while offering good solutions to landowners and turf cutters.
I look forward to working closely with him in his important new role in connecting with the huge Irish diaspora throughout the word.
I also congratulate the new members who are proposed for appointment as ministers. This is a great day for themselves and their families and I look forward to working with each of them as we build on the progress made by the Government over the past three years.
A Cheann Comhairle, when we came to office, rescuing Ireland’s economy and restoring its reputation, were our top priorities. We were a Government for National Recovery.