Taoiseach appoints 16 Fine Gael TDs as junior ministers
Labour criticises move by Enda Kenny as total number of posts increases to 18
Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Tánaiste Frances Fitzgerald with new junior ministers at Government Buildings. Photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times
Taoiseach Enda Kenny has increased the number of junior ministers from 15 to 18 and allocated four of them to the Department of Health.
A total of 16 positions went to Fine Gael TDs with two members of the Independent Alliance being appointed.
Three of the appointments announced by Mr Kenny yesterday were women, with all of them being given responsibilities in the health area.
Dublin South-Central TD Catherine Byrne has been appointed Minister of State for Communities and the National Drugs Strategy. Offaly TD Marcella Kennedy Corcoran was appointed Minister of State for Health Promotion, while Meath East TD, Helen McEntee has responsibility for mental health and older people.
Galway West TD Seán Kyne has been appointed Minister of State for the Gaeltacht, and full responsibility for the portfolio will be delegated to him. He will also have responsibility for Natural Resources.
A popular promotion was that of long-serving Cork East TD David Stanton, who was given special responsibility for Equality, Immigration, and Integration at the Department of Justice.
He was chairman of the justice committee in the last Dáil which was widely regarded as one of the most effective Oireachtas committees.
One of the surprise appointments was that of Limerick County TD Patrick O’Donovan as junior Minister for Tourism and Sport. Another surprise was Wicklow TD Andrew Doyle who has been given responsibility for Food, Forestry and Horticulture.
Outgoing junior minister Damien English from Meath West returns as Minister of State for Housing and Urban Renewal.
Two other outgoing ministers also return in different portfolios, with Joe McHugh moving from Gaeltacht to the Diaspora and Overseas Development Aid, and Mayo TD Michael Ring moving from Sport to Regional Economic Development.
Pat Breen from Clare gets promotion to the ministerial ranks for the first time with responsibility for Employment and Small Business at the Department of Jobs.
The two members of the Independent Alliance appointed Ministers of State were Waterford TD John Halligan who was given responsibility for Training and Skills and Galway East TD Seán Canney who got the Office of Public Works and Flood Relief. He will share the post with Kevin “Boxer” Moran, who will take over after a year.
The 15 appointments came on top of the three Ministers of State who were appointed when the Government was formed. Meath East TD Regina Doherty who was appointed chief whip, Wexford TD Paul Kehoe who was allocated Defence and Independent Alliance TD Finian McGrath who has takes over at Disability.
The move was strongly criticised by outgoing Labour leader Joan Burton who said it was remarkable the number of junior ministers had been increased to 18 and was fast approaching the record of 20 set by former taoiseach Bertie Ahern.