Cheers for Heather Humphreys as she becomes Minister for Arts

Number of women sitting at Cabinet table doubles from two to four in reshuffle

Minister for Social Protection Joan Burton, Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald, Minister for Education Jan O’Sullivan and Minister for Arts Heather Humphreys. Photograph: Merrion Street/Government Information Service.

Minister for Social Protection Joan Burton, Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald, Minister for Education Jan O’Sullivan and Minister for Arts Heather Humphreys. Photograph: Merrion Street/Government Information Service.

Fri, Jul 11, 2014, 16:12

TDs cheered and applauded loudly as the new Minister for Arts, Heritage and Gaeltacht Affairs Heather Humphreys took her seat in the Dáil as the new Government filed into the chamber.

As Ms Humphreys, one of three Fine Gael Cavan-Monaghan TDs, came down the steps of the Dáil chamber following other Ministers, her predecessor Jimmy Deenihan, sitting among the Fine Gael backbenchers, leaned over and shook her hand.

Mr Deenihan moves to a new role as Minister of State in the Department of the Taoiseach with responsibility for the Diaspora.

Outgoing minister for environment Phil Hogan sat in the middle of the back row of Fine Gael TDs as the new Cabinet members took ther seats and was applauded by Government TDs and a number of Fianna Fáil TDs as Taoiseach Enda Kenny announced his nomination as Ireland’s next European Commissioner.

The number of women in the Cabinet has doubled with Ms Humphreys’ appointment to the Fine Gael 10 and the promotion of Minister of State Jan O’Sullivan as Minister for Education and one of Labour’s five in the new Government.

They join Tánaiste and Labour leader Joan Burton and Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald in bringing the number of women in Government to four.

Former Tánaiste and Labour leader Eamon Gilmore sat in the middle of the Labour backbenchers and was warmly applauded when the Taoiseach paid tribute to his leadership and his role as Minister for Foreign Affairs, which is now taken on by Charlie Flanagan, first appointed to the Cabinet two months as minister for children.

There was further applause for Mr Gilmore, former minister for education Ruairí Quinn and former minister for communications, energy and natural resources Pat Rabbitte, when Ms Joan Burton paid tribute to them.

Mr Quinn sat among the Labour backbenchers as the new Cabinet entered the Dáil chamber, while Mr Rabbitte sat in the Dáil lobby at the back of the chamber.