Kenny and Burton to announce reshuffle in morning

Fine Gael and Labour leaders meeting tonight ‘to sort out distribution of ministries’

Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Tánaiste Joan Burton are to announce the Cabinet reshuffle in the morning. File photograph: Eric Luke/The Irish Times.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Tánaiste Joan Burton are to announce the Cabinet reshuffle in the morning. File photograph: Eric Luke/The Irish Times.

Thu, Jul 10, 2014, 21:46

Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Tánaiste Joan Burton are expected to announce the Cabinet reshuffle tomorrow morning.

A note sent out by the whip’s office this evening told TDs to be ready for an announcement by Mr Kenny in the Dáil at 10.30 am.

Mr Kenny and Ms Burton will then make statements, followed by reponses from the Opposition.

The new Cabinet will then travel to Áras an Uachtaráin to receive their seals of office from President Michael D Higgins.

The first meeting of the new Cabinet is also expected to take place in the Áras.

Mr Kenny and Ms Burton met tonight and it their discussions are understood to be focusing on the distribution of ministries between Fine Gael and Labour.

The meeting came after the parties reached broad agreement on a policy document for the Coalition.

Differences of approach on taxation and the education portfolio were understood to be sticking points between the two sides.

Mr Kenny told the Fine Gael parliamentary party last night he would not be rushed into agreement with Ms Burton on the reshuffle.

He said badly handled cabinet reshuffles had destabilised governments before and he was determined not to repeat such mistakes.

The bulk of the policy document had been agreed between the two sides yesterday, when Mr Kenny announced a decision to provide free GP services for all over-70s during Leaders’ Questions in the Dáil.

The proposal is viewed by Government as the second phase of its rolling out of free GP care to the entire population, and follows a Bill to provide free visits to family doctors for all children under six.

Much speculation has centred on the Department of Jobs and Enterprise, with suggestions Labour wanted to get control of the Department run by Fine Gael’s Richard Bruton for the past three years.

The indications are that Fine Gael will retain control of the portfolio with some of it being hived off into a new economic portfolio for a Labour minister.

Meanwhile, it is understood Minister for Finance Michael Noonan has spoken to the Taoiseach urging Jimmy Deenihan be retained in the Cabinet, while a number of Labour TDs and former Labour deputy leader Barry Desmond have urged Ms Burton to retain Pat Rabbitte.

Phil Hogan will leave Cabinet for the EU commissionership; James Reilly will move from Health to another portfolio; and Labour deputy leader Alan Kelly is a certainty for promotion from the junior ministerial ranks to the Cabinet. There will also be at least three new junior ministers, with Kilkenny TD Anne Phelan regarded as a certainty.