Parties did not co-ordinate on Cabinet appointments, says Varadkar

Tánaiste believes lack of Minister from west will be ‘rectified’ during reshuffle

Tánaiste Leo Varadkar has acknowledged that the three coalition parties did not co-ordinate in the appointment of the Cabinet, which resulted in no senior Minister in Government from the west. Video: Oireachtas

 

Tánaiste Leo Varadkar has acknowledged that the three coalition parties did not co-ordinate in the appointment of the Cabinet, which resulted in no senior Minister in Government from the west.

But he stressed that “we’ll co-ordinate better with Ministers of State in the next couple of days”.

He also insisted that the so-called “super junior” ministers, Hildegarde Naughton from Galway and Government Chief Whip Dara Calleary from Mayo, “are full members of Cabinet if not senior ministers.

“So their weight and their voice will be equal to that of any other member of the Cabinet and I want people to know that.”

The Government faced a huge backlash following the failure to appoint a senior Minister based on the western seaboard and shock was expressed that Mr Calleary as deputy leader of Fianna Fáil had not been appointed as a senior member of Government.

In the Dáil, Sinn Féin TD for Roscommon-Galway Claire Kerrane said that no matter what the Government does from now on “it will always be remembered as the Government that did not see fit for the very first time in the history of the State to appoint a senior Minister from the western region, from Donegal right down to Limerick”.

The coalition is expected to appoint 20 Ministers of State in the next day or so but Ms Kerrane said the “damage is done”.

‘Very unusual’

Mr Varadkar said that when he appointed his cabinet three years ago as taoiseach “we had two senior members from the west but when you’re three parties doing and perhaps not co-ordinating it you turn up with unusual results. We’ll co-ordinate better with Ministers of State in the next couple of days.

He acknowledged that “it is very unusual for there not be a senior Minister in Connacht, west of the river Shannon.

“I don’t doubt that will be rectified at the reshuffle if not before but in the meantime we do have Hildegarde Naughton and Dara Calleary there.”

People say “they don’t have a vote but there hasn’t been a vote in Cabinet since the 1970s or early 80s.

“So their weight and their voice will be equal to that of any other member of the Cabinet and I want people to know that.”

The Tánaiste said he had a “very strong view that every Minister should see themselves as having a national remit.

“As somebody who is a Dublin-based politician I am very aware of my responsibilities to be a national Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment.”