Six senior Ministers may be changed in reshuffle
Biggest question is whether James Reilly will be dropped or transferred
The Cabinet reshuffle early next month will mean six senior Ministers being replaced by Ministers of State and Government backbenchers, according to a representative cross-section of Fine Gael and Labour parliamentarians.
TDs and Senators from both parties are of the view that it is inevitable that three of the five Labour Ministers – Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore, Minister for Education Ruairí Quinn and Minister for Communications and Energy Pat Rabbitte – will step down once Taoiseach Enda Kenny announces the ministerial changes.
The change is likely to be made on July 8th following the election of a new leader to the Labour Party.
Divided viewsPhil HoganJimmy Deenihan
However, there are varied views on the future of Minister for Health James Reilly.
Some believe he will be transferred, while others are of the opinion he will leave Cabinet if he loses the health portfolio. However, his comments this week in which he said he would be willing to serve in any capacity the Taoiseach wished were seen as indicative of his willingness to remain in Cabinet in a different role.
“The other consideration is that James is also deputy leader and it would be unusual for a deputy leader to be demoted from Cabinet.”
Irrespective of which of the two Labour contenders wins the leadership contest it is expected Joan Burton and Alex White will be in Cabinet, along with Minister for Public Expenditure Brendan Howlin. Neither he nor his Fine Gael counterpart Michael Noonan will be moved as both are seen as having pivotal ministries in the Coalition.
While Mr White said that Ms Burton would be in his Cabinet if he became leader, she has offered no such guarantee. However, among Labour TDs and Senators there is a view that he cannot be ignored, particularly if he performs well in the leadership contest.
The other contenders for the remaining Labour slots in Cabinet will include the new deputy leader of the party – Alan Kelly is seen as the slight favourite.
It is also expected that the final position will go to one of the party’s female TDs, with Minister of State for Health Kathleen Lynch been seen as slightly ahead of Minister of State for the Environment Jan O’Sullivan.
Backed KennyPaschal DonohueMr KennyCharlie Flanagan
Most other contenders mentioned for promotion to senior Cabinet were backbench TDs. They include Joe McHugh; Damien English, Regina Doherty, Dara Murphy, David Stanton, Jerry Buttimer, Liam Twomey and Simon Harris.