The Appointments

Fri, Mar 11, 2011, 00:00

Profiles by HARRY McGEE, DEAGLÁN de BRÉADÚN, MARY MINIHANand PAUL CULLEN

SEAT AT CABINET  TABLE

Government Chief Whip and Defence

Paul Kehoe

Age38

PartyFine Gael

ConstituencyWexford

TitleMinister of State at the Department of the Taoiseach and the Department of Defence with the responsibility of Chief Whip

A farmer from Bree, Enniscorthy, Kehoe was first elected to the Dáil in the general election of May 2002 and became Fine Gael Chief Whip in 2004. He has been a loyal supporter of Enda Kenny and was a key figure in defeating the attempted heave in June last year. He said recently that he was proud of his role and would “do the same in the morning”. He is a former youth officer with Wexford GAA and former chairman of Macra na Feirme and Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann Inis Corthaidh. Kehoe is married and became a father for the first time last year.

Housing & Planning

Willie Penrose

Age54

PartyLabour

ConstituencyLongford-Westmeath

TitleMinister of State at the Department of Environment, Community and Local Government with responsibility for Housing and Planning

WILLIE PENROSE topped the poll with almost 11,500 votes in his constituency, proving his reputation as one of the country’s most successful vote-getters. A barrister, he was a member of Westmeath County Council from 1984 to 2003. He was first elected to the Dáil in 1992, the first time Labour returned a deputy in the constituency since 1927. He was an unsuccessful candidate for Labour deputy leader in 2002, and the party’s spokesman on enterprise, trade and employment in the last Dáil. As a super junior minister, he can sit at the Cabinet table.

OTHER APPOINTMENTS

Primary Care

Róisín Shortall

Age56

PartyLabour

ConstituencyDublin North West

TitleMinister of State at the Department of Health with responsibility for Primary Care

First elected to the Dáil in the 1992 general election as part of the "Spring tide", she has kept her seat in every election since then.

Ms Shortall previously worked as a primary school teacher for the deaf. She was educated at Dominican College, Eccles Street; UCD; and St Mary's College of Education, Marino, and was elected to Dublin City Council in 1991.

Until the recent election she was Labour spokeswoman on social protection and an effective questioner of witnesses at the Dáil Committee of Public Accounts. She is married with three daughters. She topped the poll in Dublin North West at the recent election and her surplus helped elect colleague John Lyons.

Small Business

John Perry

Age54

PartyFine Gael

ConstituencySligo-North Leitrim

TitleMinister of State at the Department of Enterprise, Jobs and Innovation with responsibility for Small Business

Born in Ballymote, Co Sligo, and educated at Ballymote National School and Corran College, he was first elected to Dáil Éireann in the 1997 general election and has retained his seat since. He was chairman of the Dáil Committee of Public Accounts from 2002 to 2004 and Fine Gael spokesman on the marine from 2004 to 2007.

He was demoted in a reshuffle following the 2007 general election but appointed chairman of the EU Scrutiny Committee. He was restored to the front bench last year as spokesman on small business. Member of Sligo County Council from 1999 to 2004.

European Affairs

Lucinda Creighton

Age31

PartyFine Gael

ConstituencyDublin South East

TitleMinister of State at the Department of the Taoiseach and Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade with responsibility for European Affairs

Like her party leader Enda Kenny she is from Mayo, but has represented the constituency of Dublin South East since 2007. Ms Creighton was the youngest member of the last Dáil. She opposed Mr Kenny in last year’s failed leadership heave. Outspoken, she told an International Women’s Day event earlier this week there was a responsibility on women politicians to create “an old and young girls’ network”. She has been a public representative since 2004, when she was elected to Dublin City Council as the youngest ever member. She studied law at Trinity College, Dublin and qualified as a barrister.

Trade & Development

Jan O'Sullivan

Age60

PartyLabour

ConstituencyLimerick City

TitleMinister of State at the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade with responsibility for Trade and Development

A full-time public representative and a former pre-school teacher, she was elected to the Dáil in 1998 in the byelection following the death of Jim Kemmy. Educated at Villiers School, Limerick, and at Trinity College Dublin, she has been in politics since the mid-1980s when she was elected to Limerick City Council. She was elected to the Seanad in 1994. In the last Dáil, she was Labour’s health spokeswoman.

She is on the boards of the Island Theatre Company, Cara Housing Association and the Rape Crisis Centre and is a member of Amnesty International. She is married with one son and one daughter.

NewEra Project

Fergus O'Dowd

Age62

PartyFine Gael

ConstituencyLouth

TitleMinister of State at the Department of Communications, Energy & Natural Resources and Department of Environment, Community and Local Government with responsibility for NewEra Project

Fergus O'Dowd was disappointed not to be awarded a senior ministry, but having responsibility for the big-ticket jobs and utilities plan, NewEra, will compensate.

A former teacher based in Drogheda, he came late to the Dáil but has made an impact. He retained his seat when Mairéad McGuinness was a candidate in 2007.

His groundwork exposed the practices within Fás. He was on the wrong side of the leadership challenge last year, which may have cost him.

Public Service Reform and OPW

Brian Hayes

Age41

PartyFine Gael

ConstituencyDublin South West

TitleMinister of State at the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform and the Department of Finance with responsibility for Public Service Reform and OPW

This is another key junior ministerial role. The appointment of Tallaght-based Hayes shows Enda Kenny favoured ability over loyalty. While Hayes was closely identified with the plot against Kenny, his elevation is not a surprise. If he was not Dublin-based, he may have become a senior Minister. He excelled as deputy finance spokesman and was one of the party's strongest performers during the election campaign. He has been a member of the Oireachtas since 1995. The OPW job is a plum role. With public sector reform thrown in, this is as senior as a junior job gets.

Training and Skills

Ciarán Cannon

Age45

PartyFine Gael

ConstituencyGalway East

TitleMinister of State at the Department of Education and Skills with responsibility for Training and Skills

A native of Killimordaly in east Galway, Cannon and his wife Niamh have run a pub in the village of Carrabane for more than a decade. Cannon was elected to Galway County Council in 2004 as a representative of the now defunct Progressive Democrats. He unsuccessfully ran for that party in the 2007 general election but was later appointed as a Taoiseach's nominee to the Seanad. He became leader of the Progressive Democrats for a short time before the party's demise and joined Fine Gael in 2009. He secured 6,927 first-preference votes in his Galway East constituency in the general election.

Research & Innovation

Seán Sherlock

Age38

PartyLabour

ConstituencyCork East

TitleMinister of State at the Department of Enterprise, Jobs and Innovation and the Department of Education and Skills with responsibility for Research and Innovation

First elected in 2007, he was Labour's spokesman on agriculture in the last Dáil. Mr Sherlock topped the poll in Cork East last month and was elected on the first count with 11,862 first preferences. He studied economics and politics at University College Galway and worked as an assistant to Labour's Dublin MEP Proinsias De Rossa. Mr Sherlock was opposed to the idea of a strike or national day of protest by trade unions in 2009. His father was the late Joe Sherlock, who was first elected to represent the Workers' Party and later made the transition to Labour.

Gaeltacht Affairs

Dinny McGinley

Age65

PartyFine Gael

ConstituencyDonegal South West

TitleMinister of State at the Department of Arts, Heritage and Gaeltacht Affairs with responsibility for Gaeltacht Affairs

A native Irish speaker from Gweedore in the Donegal Gaeltacht, where he still lives, he worked as a teacher before being elected to the Dáil in 1982. He has held a variety of frontbench positions in the party, including youth affairs, defence and Gaeltacht.

He was chairman of an Oireachtas committee on the Irish language from 1995 to 1997. In June 2006, he announced he was to retire from national politics but in February 2007 said he had changed his mind. The candidate selected in his place, Cllr Terence Slowey, stepped aside and Mr McGinley kept his Dáil seat in the 2007 general election.

Tourism & Sport

Michael Ring

Age57

PartyFine Gael

ConstituencyMayo

TitleMinister of State at the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport with responsibility for Tourism and Sport

One of the Dáil’s most colourful characters, Michael Ring was promoted to the Fine Gael front bench last year following the failed leadership heave by Richard Bruton. He was later promoted to spokesman on social protection.

The Westport native became a county councillor in 1991. He was elected to the Dáil at a byelection three years later in 1994 following the resignation of Pádraig Flynn. He was party spokesman for social and family affairs, agriculture and deputy health spokesman.

A former auctioneer, he is married with three children.

Food, Horticulture and Food Safety

Shane McEntee

Age54

PartyFine Gael

ConstituencyMeath East

Title Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Marine and Food with responsibility for Food, Horticulture and Food Safety

Shane McEntee is not a surprising appointment, nor is the portfolio he has been handed. One of Enda Kenny’s most passionate and loyal defenders during last year’s leadership challenge, he was crestfallen not to have been given a spokesman job.

His elevation is partly a reward for Fine Gael winning two seats in a constituency that was Fianna Fáil heartland. The Nobber TD comes from a farming background and is deeply involved in the GAA. His brother Gerry was a member of the Meath team in the 1980s. He has also been vocal in calling for a reverse of the stag hunting ban.

Disability, Equality and Mental Health

Kathleen Lynch

Age57

PartyLabour

ConstituencyCork North Central

TitleMinister of State for Health and for Justice, Equality and Defence with responsibility for Disability, Equality and Mental Health

A colourful and often effective performer, she has had a chequered electoral career. She was first elected to the Dáil as a Democratic Left TD in the November 1994 byelection caused by the death of Labour's Gerry O'Sullivan.

She lost the seat in 1997 but regained it in 2002 following the merger of DL and Labour. Women's rights, health, housing and welfare issues, as well as the plight of disadvantaged communities in her constituency, have always figured high on her political agenda. In the last Dáil, Lynch was the party's spokeswoman on equality and disability.

She is married with four children.

Public and Commuter Transport

Alan Kelly

Age35

PartyLabour

ConstituencyTipperary North

TitleMinister of State for Transport, Tourism and Sport with responsibility for Public and Commuter Transport

The former e-business manager with Bord Fáilte entered political life in 2007 when he was elected to the Seanad’s agricultural panel. Kelly was appointed as Labour’s spokesman in the Seanad on tourism, finance and local government after the election of Eamon Gilmore as party leader in 2007. He was elected MEP for the South constituency in 2009 and secured 9,559 first preferences in last month’s election. He studied eCommerce in University College Dublin. He is a younger brother of Declan Kelly, who was appointed in 2009 as economic envoy to Northern Ireland by US secretary of state Hillary Clinton.