Gilmore’s hint at Foreign Affairs departure welcomed by colleagues

Labour TDs hope to see their leader’s new ministry ‘closer to home’

Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore’s strong signal that he will leave the Department of Foreign Affairs hs been welcomed by Labour colleagues. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons / The Irish Times

Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore’s strong signal that he will leave the Department of Foreign Affairs hs been welcomed by Labour colleagues. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons / The Irish Times

Fri, May 16, 2014, 12:42

Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore’s strong signal that he will leave the Department of Foreign Affairs in the upcoming Cabinet reshuffle has been welcomed by Labour colleagues.

Westmeath TD Willie Penrose said he hoped his party leader would take up a domestic ministry shortly after the local and European elections.

“I certainly personally would like to see him closer to home. My own view is that there should be a substantial reshuffle,” Mr Penrose said.

Dublin Mid-West deputy Robert Dowds praised Mr Gilmore’s performance in the Foreign Affairs and Trade portfolio but indicated he would like to see the Tánaiste more involved in domestic issues.

“Anything that would help to keep him closer to base would be a good idea,” Mr Dowds said.

Kerry TD Arthur Spring said Mr Gilmore had been motivated by a desire to “restore Ireland’s reputation” when he took on the ministry.

“I can see merit in him coming home and taking on a domestic portfolio which can focus on domestic economic wellbeing relative to people’s lives,” he added.

Minister for Social Protection and deputy Labour leader Joan Burton last month said it would be “very positive” if Mr Gilmore changed his current portfolio.

Her statement was understood to have led to objections from Mr Gilmore’s office.

In an interview with The Irish Times’ political editor Stephen Collins, Mr Gilmore said: “I am not wedded to any particular department”.

Ciara Conway, TD for Waterford, said a domestic ministry would be the best use of Mr Gilmore’s talents.

“There’s definitely going to be a major reshuffle win, lose or draw on May 23rd. There’s definitely going to be a lot of changes made.”

Louth deputy Gerard Nash said he was never convinced by the argument that Mr Gilmore’s brief kept him away from home too much, but conceded that many would welcome him taking up a “ministry that says on the time that it’s a domestic ministry”.

Speculation in political circles has linked Mr Gilmore to the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, although there is some doubt Fine Gael would be prepared to relinquish the post currently held by Richard Bruton.