New Cabinet holds first meeting at Áras an Uachtaráin
Five new appointees to senior ministerial team, with Hogan sent to EU Commission
The newly appointed Cabinet has held its first meeting at Áras an Uachtaráin this evening. Prior to the meeting ministers received their seals of office from President Michael D Higgins.
Taoiseach Enda Kenny and the ministers then returned to Leinster House this evening and won the approval of the Dáil to form a new government.
In the reshuffle, Labour TDs Jan O’Sullivan, Alex White and Alan Kelly have been appointed to Cabinet along with Fine Gael’s Paschal Donohoe and Heather Humphreys.
Leo Varadkar has been given the role of Minister for Health,replacing James Reilly who is the new Minister for Children and Youth Affairs.
Dr Reilly replaces Charlie Flanagan, who held the post for two months and is now moving to the Department of Foreign Affairs.
Pat Rabbitte, Jimmy Deenihan and Eamon Gilmore have lost their places at Cabinet, along with Ruairí Quinn who announced he would be leaving last week.
Mr Kelly, Labour’s newly-elected deputy leader, has been named Minister for Enivronment and Local Government. He replaces Fine Gael’s Phil Hogan, who Mr Kenny confirmed will become Ireland’s next European Commissioner.
Ms O’Sullivan will replace Mr Quinn as Minister for Education and Skills. Mr Donohoe is to take up Mr Varadkar’s old role in the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport.
Mr White, who unsuccessfully contested the Labour Party leadership, is to replace Mr Rabbitte at the Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources.
Mr Deenihan has lost his role in the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht and is to take up a role as a junior minister in the Department of the Taoiseach with a focus on the Diaspora. Ms Humphreys, a first time TD for Cavan-Monaghan, will take up the Arts brief.
A new super junior minister for jobs will also sit at the Cabinet table after today’s reshuffle. Labour’s Ged Nash is to fill that position.
A ‘super junior’ is a junior minister who sits at Cabinet but does not have a vote, unlike a senior minister. The position will have responsibility for the new low pay commission, as well as collective bargaining.
As part of a deal between Fine Gael and Labour, the junior Coalition partner will replace its super junior for housing with a super junior for jobs.
Fine Gael’s Richard Bruton will keep the senior position within the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation .
Simon Coveney is to take on the Defence brief in addition to his job as Minister for Agriculture.
Michael Noonan and Brendan Howlin will retain their posts at the Department of Finance and Department of Public Expenditure and Reform respectively. Ms Burton retains her role as Minister for Social Protection and Frances Fitzgerald will continue in her new post as Minister for Justice and Equality.
Mr Kenny and Ms Burton met last night to sign off on a document outlining an agreed framework for the remainder of the Government’s term of office. The talks concluded at 10.30 pm, having lasted two hours. All matters were concluded, including the allocation of ministries. New appointments to the junior ministerial ranks will not be revealed until next week.
There was broad agreement on the contents of the document earlier this week, but Fine Gael and Labour officials have been working on it line by line over the past 48 hours to iron out minor differences of interpretation.
FULL LIST OF MINISTERS
Taoiseach Enda Kenny
Tánaiste & Minister for Social Protection Joan Burton
Minister for Finance Michael Noonan
Minister for Public Expenditure & Reform Brendan Howlin
Minister for Agriculture & Defence Simon Coveney
Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald
Minister for Children & Youth Affairs James Reilly
Minister for Foreign Affairs Charlie Flanagan
Minister for Health Leo Varadkar
Minister for Environment, Community & Local Government Alan Kelly
Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Richard Bruton
Minister for Education Jan O’Sullivan
Minister for Arts, Heritage & the Gaeltacht Heather Humphreys
Minister of State attending the Government and Minister of State at the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation with responsibility for Business and Employment Gerald Nash
Chief Whip & Minister of State at the Department of the Taoiseach and the Department of Defence Paul Kehoe
Minister of State at the Taoiseach’s Department and at the Department of Foreign Affairs with special responsibility for the Irish abroad Jimmy Deenihan