Eighteen TDs nominated to chair Oireachtas committees

James Lawless, Fergus O’Dowd, Kathleen Funchion and Neasa Hourigan among appointees

James Lawless, the Kildare North Fianna Fáil TD who was passed over for promotion to a junior ministry this week, has been named chair of the Oireachtas Committee on Justice and Equality.

Mr Lawless will be proposed for approval by the Oireachtas alongside 17 other deputies to chair the parliamentary committees.

Fergus O'Dowd has been nominated as chair of the committee on the Implementation of the Good Friday Agreement. Mr O'Dowd, lost out on a role as Leas Ceann-Comhairle in a surprise result that saw the post go to Galway TD Catherine Connelly after a secret ballot.

Former minister for education Joe McHugh will chair the Committee on European Union Affairs, while Independent TD and former communications Minister Denis Naughten will chair the Committee on Social Protection, Community and Rural Development and the Islands.


Fine Gael TD Charlie Flanagan, who served as minister for justice in Leo Varadkar's government, will be chair of the foreign affairs committee.

Overall, Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil have five committee chairs each, Sinn Féin four, the Green Party three, and a single chair for an Independent TD.

Former public accounts committee chair and Fianna Fáil TD John McGuinness will continue as chair of the finance committee, which also oversees public expenditure and reform, and the Taoiseach.

Sinn Féin will have four committee chairs, with Kathleen Funchion taking up the reins at the committee on children, disability and integration. Her party colleague Brian Stanley was confirmed as chair of the powerful Public Accounts Committee earlier this summer. Maurice Quinlivan, the Sinn Féin TD for Limerick city, will chair the committee on Enterprise, Trade and Employment, while Dublin South West's Seán Crowe will chair the health committee.

Alongside Mr Lawless, Fianna Fáil deputies Jackie Cahill and Niamh Smyth will chair the committees on Agriculture and Marine, and Media, Tourism, Arts, Culture Sport and the Gaeltacht. Fianna Fáil TD Michael Moynihan is expected to chair the disability committee. Terms of reference for that committee are currently being finalised.

Fine Gael's Kieran O'Donnell will chair the Committee on Transport and Communications Networks, and Paul Kehoe, the former defence minister, will chair the education committee.

Three Green Party TDs will chair the remaining committees.

Neasa Hourigan will chair the Committee on Budgetary Oversight, despite losing her speaking rights after voting against the Government in the last Dáil session. Deputy Steven Matthews will chair the housing committee, and Limerick's Brian Leddin will be chair of the Committee on Climate Action.

Jack Horgan-Jones

Jack Horgan-Jones

Jack Horgan-Jones is a political reporter with The Irish Times