Fianna Fáil reshuffles frontbench


Fianna Fáil has decided not to appoint a new deputy leader to replace former minister Éamon Ó Cuív who left the role after a policy disagreement earlier this year.

The party this evening announced a reshuffle of its frontbench, which saw Mr Ó Cuív move from the backbenches to the role of spokesman on agriculture. 

The Galway West TD, a grandson of Fianna Fáil founder Éamon de Valera, resigned as deputy leader after going against the party to call for a No vote in May’s fiscal treaty referendum. Prior to the disagreement he served as spokesman on communications.

Party sources said that by not filling the deputy leader role permanently other TDs were being given a chance to increase their profile and have more speaking time in the Dáil during occasions such as leaders questions.

Party leader Micheál Martin said: “The entire Fianna Fáil party is focused on providing robust and constructive opposition to a Government that moves further from its election pledges and becomes more out of touch with the communities which elected it with each passing week”.

"We have made progress over the last year, bringing forward well argued and important legislation across the board and publishing more than thirty bills," he added.

The party has made ten changes to its front bench team.

Limerick TD and former minister Willie O’Dea has been moved to social protection and equality; former minister Brendan Smith has been moved to foreign affairs and trade; former junior minister Dara Calleary moves from the role of justice spokesman to enterprise, jobs and innovation.

Barry Cowen is to take on the area of environment; Charlie McConalogue is to be spokesman on education and skills; and Niall Collins moves from environment to justice and equality.

The others see Michael Moynihan take communications, energy and natural resources; Sean O Fearghail takes the whip, responsibility for constitutional reform and the arts and culture, and the defence portfolio; and Robert Troy is the party’s new spokesman on children.