Hanafin named FF deputy leader


Fianna Fáil leader Micheal Martin has named eight people with no ministerial experience, including one Senator, three councillors and a party member unelected to public office, to his new team of party spokespeople.

Mr Martin announced his 21-strong front bench at Leinster House this afternoon. All seven Senior Ministers and Government Chief Whip John Curran were retained, with Mary Hanafin being named as deputy leader.

She was the only Minister who will not be the spokesperson on her ministerial portfolio. She was given responsibility for Environment with Senator Marc MacSharry taking on responsibility for tourism and the arts.

The announcement also saw a return to the front bench for the former minster for defence Willie O’Dea, who will be the party’s spokesman on communications and energy. He resigned from the Cabinet when it emerged swore a High Court affidavit containing assertions that turned out not to be true.

Mr O’Dea was one of the most prominent of Mr Martin’s supporters during the party’s internal leadership row.

The most unusual feature of the front bench is that Mr Martin has gone outside the parliamentary party to select a number of his front bench.

Two Dublin City councillors, Mary Fitzpatrick, a candidate for Dublin Central and Jim O’Callaghan are named among the 21. Ms Fitzpatrick is spokeswoman on housing and urban development and Mr O’Callaghan will be legal adviser to the frontbench and also the spokesman on constitutional reform.

In another unusual choice, Averil Power has been named as the spokesperson on political reform. Ms Power, who was until recently special adviser to Ms Hanafin, was an unsuccessful candidate in the local elections in 2009 and is Fianna Fail’s candidate in Dublin North East.

Besides Senator McSharry and the returning Mr O’Dea, one backbench TD, Niall Collins, has been elevated to a senior spokesman role and will take over the defence brief.

Four Ministers of State have been promoted. They are Mr Curran (Justice); Barry Andrews (Health and Children); Dara Calleary (Enterprise); Billy Kelleher (Transport); and Peter Power (Foreign Affairs and Trade).

Mr Martin’s constituency colleague Michael McGrath has been named to speak on financial sector reform. Sean Fleming has been asked to fill a similar role on public sector reform.

Daragh O’Brien is named as spokesman on sport and John McGuinness, a former Minister of State, is given responsibility for small business.

Mr Martin justified his choice of four spokespeople who are not members of the Dail on the basis that this was what he described as “new politics” and the old roles did not apply.

He also all but confirmed that no intervention will be made in Dun Laoghaire with a view to asking either Ms Hanafin or Mr Andrews transfer to neighbouring Dublin South.

He said the party was running two candidates, and not one, in certain constituencies for geographical reasons in rural areas, and historical reasons in some urban constituencies including Dun Laoghaire.

Full list of appointments:

Spokeswoman on environment and local government and deputy leader Mary HanafinTD

Spokesman on finance Brian Lenihan TD

Spokesman on justice and law reform John Curran TD

Spokesman on health and children Barry Andrews TD

Spokeswoman on education and skills Mary Coughlan TD

Spokesman on social protection Eamon O’Cuiv TD

Spokesman on enterprise, employment and innovation Dara Calleary TD

Spokesman on agriculture, fisheries and food Brendan Smith TD

Spokesman on tourism and arts Senator Marc McSharry

Spokesman on defence Niall Collins TD

Spokesman on community, equality and gaeltacht affairs Pat Carey TD

Spokesman on communications, energy and natural resources Willie O'Dea TD

Spokesman on transport Billy Kelleher TD

Spokesman on foreign affairs and trade Peter Power TD

Spokeswoman on political reform Averil Power

Spokesman on financial sector reform Michael McGrath TD

Spokesman on public sector reform Sean Fleming TD

Spokesman on sport Darragh O'Brien TD

Spokesman on small business John McGuinness TD

Spokesman on housing and urban development Cllr Mary Fitzpatrick

Legal Adviser to the frontbench and spokesman on Constitutional Reform Cllr Jim O'Callaghan SC