Seal of approval for ministerial posts
Frances Fitzgerald and Charlie Flanagan elevated to Cabinet rank in wake of Alan Shatter exit
Newly-appointed Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform, Frances Fitzgerald, newly-appointed Minister for Children, Charlie Flanagan and Taoiseach Enda Kenny at Aras an Uachtarain where the ministers received their seals of office. Photograph: Colin Keegan, Collins Dublin.
The Dáil has approved Frances Fitzgerald’s appointment as Minister for Justice and Equality.
Taoiseach Enda Kenny said he was temporarily taking on the Department of Defence pending a reorganisation of responsibility for that portfolio.
Mr Kenny said his former party chairman was eminently qualified for the position as a vastly-experienced member of the House for 22 years and he had previously been a spokesman for children.
He praised Ms Fitzgerald, who in three years, “has transformed the constitutional, legislative and administrative systems to make the welfare and protection of children the top priority”. He added that “restoring confidence and integrity to the Irish justice system now becomes the number one priority for the new Minister”.
Former minister thanked
Mr Kenny also thanked Mr Shatter, who was not present in the chamber, for his work and said in three years he “implemented huge reform right across his areas of responsibility, from the creation of the personal insolvency system to . . . reform of the legal profession”.
The Taoiseach highlighted the way in which new Irish citizens are confirmed in what he described as a “relatively minor reform that struck a chord with many people”, where the former minister created “proper, dignified ceremonies”.
He reaffirmed the Government’s commitment to a new Garda authority and said Ms Fitzgerald would seek written submissions from the public on its structure and remit, and organise hearings before the summer recess.
Minister for Education Ruairí Quinn supported the appointments and praised Mr Shatter for his “commitment to public service”.
Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin congratulated the two Ministers but said the appointment of a new Minister “does not by itself deal with what has happened and the unprecedented collapse in public confidence in vital parts of the administration of justice”. He said the resignation of Mr Shatter “is something which should have happened a long time ago. He has chosen to leave without admitting any error and in the name of protecting the electoral interests of the Government”.
Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams said that what was now “crystal clear is that the former minister resigned . . . so as not to cause further embarrassment for Fine Gael and the Labour Party in the lead-in to the European and local government elections”.
Independent TD Mick Wallace said he respected Mr Shatter’s “ability . . . but we have a very different philosophy on life. I would not, for example, have been looking to go for a drink with him.”
Wallace and Daly
“I wish Frances well in her new job. I have a lot of respect for her
,” he added.
Independent TD Clare Daly did not believe Mr Shatter resigned on foot of “just the Guerin report. His resignation was the result of a long litany of serious issues being mishandled.”