Gilmore expects reshuffle, but not immediately

‘It is something that will be addressed at some point in the life of the Government’

Minister for Social Protection Joan Burton and Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore in the Johnstown House Hotel, Enfield, Co Meath for the annual Labour think-in which took place yesterday and today Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons / THE IRISH TIMES .

Minister for Social Protection Joan Burton and Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore in the Johnstown House Hotel, Enfield, Co Meath for the annual Labour think-in which took place yesterday and today Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons / THE IRISH TIMES .

Tue, Sep 17, 2013, 13:47

Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore has said he expects a Cabinet reshuffle to take place during the lifetime of the Coalition but that the move is not “immediately on the horizon”.

Speaking to journalists as the party’s think-in came to a close in Co Meath today, Mr Gilmore said it has long been the case that a Government does not finish its term with the same 15 ministers in Cabinet or in the same positions.

“It’s not something that is immediately on the horizon but it something that will be addressed at some point in the life of the Government,” he said.

Asked if he hoped to move into a more economically focused role than his current position at the Department of Foreign Affairs, the Tánaiste replied that his work was very much contributing to the State’s recovery.

He said his department’s job of trying to increase export levels, secure inward investment and restore Ireland’s reputation on the international stage were crucial to helping the economy get back on its feet.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny earlier confirmed there would be a Cabinet reshuffle before the next general election without going into the specifics. “It’s like the All-Ireland finals these days, when the man appears on the sideline with a placard, it’s time for his replacement,” he said. “It’s a matter we will consider in due course.”

Minister for Social Protection said Joan Burton appeared to indicate she had long-term ambitions in the Department of Social Welfare, but she acknowledged her fate was ultimately not in her own hands.

“Matters in relation to the membership and composition of the Cabinet are uniquely an issue for the leaders of the two parties, for the Taoiseach and the Tanaiste,’ she said.

“In due course, if that’s on their agenda, I am sure they will make their decisions. I’ve said that I’m very happy to be working in [social protection] and with people involved all over the country in delivering services, particularly supports for our retired people.”

On the Budget, Mr Gilmore reiterated his belief that a cut of €3.1 billion was not essential and said the goal of the State returning a primary surplus, as outlined by Minister for Finance Michael Noonan yesterday, was a “desirable” one but should not make the Government’s job more difficult.

“We have been meeting the targets consistently in the lifetime of this government and that’s why we are in the good shape we are in terms of our finances. I have made the point since the start of the summer that it is my view that we can achieve our targets with a budgetary adjustment of less than €3.1 billion that some have been advocating,” he said.