Three new ministers: Who are Dara Calleary, Jack Chambers and Seán Fleming?

Three new appointments: Dara Calleary, Jack Chambers and Seán Fleming

 

DARA CALLEARY

Fianna Fáil deputy leader Dara Calleary’s promotion to Minister for Agriculture has addressed one controversial error of the new Government – the omission of a senior member of Cabinet from the west of Ireland.

After a major backlash when he was appointed government chief whip, rather than to a senior ministerial portfolio, the Mayo TD has finally been rewarded for playing a key role in the government formation talks and loyalty to the party leader.

The 47-year-old from Ballina has Fianna Fáil in his DNA. The Mayo TD has been in the Dáil since 2007 and the following year became chairman of Ógra Fianna Fáil, the party’s youth wing.

He is the son of late TD and former minister of state Seán Calleary, and his grandfather Phelim also served as a Mayo TD.

Affable and steady, highly popular with party colleagues, he is viewed as one of the party’s diplomats and a safe pair of hands.

He served as minister of state for labour affairs and public service transformation from 2009 to 2011 in the doomed Fianna Fáil-Green Party coalition.

JACK CHAMBERS

Just over two weeks after he was appointed minister of state for finance, Jack Chambers has been promoted to Government Chief Whip and becomes a super junior Minister. He has also been assigned responsibility for the Gaeltacht. The 29-year-old was born in Galway but moved to Dublin west at a young age. He is a Fianna Fáil TD for the constituency, first elected in 2016 on his first attempt and then re-elected in 2020 and before that served as a Fingal county councillor.

A frequent media contributor in opposition, he proved aggressive and impetuous in some debates during the 2020 general election.

He studied medicine at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland but set it aside as he moved into full-time politics and only earlier this year completed and passed his final two exams to complete his medical degrees.

SEÁN FLEMING

Best known for his role as chairman of the Dáil’s influential Public Accounts Committee, Seán Fleming has been a TD since 1997 when he was first elected to Laois-Offaly.

Aged 62 he becomes a Minister of State for Finance with responsibility for Financial Services, Credit Unions and Insurance.

He is a constituency colleague of former minister Barry Cowen, whose dismissal led to the new ministerial appointments.

Married with one adult son, he lives in Castletown, Co Laois. He holds a degree in commerce from UCD and is a chartered accountant, an expertise that has served him well on the Public Accounts Committee, the State’s financial watchdog, where he proved forensic on controversies including financial irregularities in the Football Association of Ireland (FAI).

He also served for a number of years as Fianna Fáil’s financial director and as a treasurer for his local GAA club.