Who are the new junior ministers? All their profiles are here

Five of the latest 17 appointments represent constituencies along western seaboard

 Josepha Madigan  has  been appointed  Minister of State at the Department of Education with responsibility for special needs and inclusion. Photograph by Crispin Rodwell for the Irish Times

Josepha Madigan has been appointed Minister of State at the Department of Education with responsibility for special needs and inclusion. Photograph by Crispin Rodwell for the Irish Times

 

A total of 17 junior ministers were appointed by the new Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael, Green party coalition on Wednesday. But who are they? They are profiled here.

Josepha Madigan

The former Fine Gael Minister for Culture, Josepha Madigan has now been appointed as the Minister of State at the Department of Education with responsibility for special needs and inclusion.

Madigan was the director of elections for the referendum to repeal the eighth amendment banning abortion, and she spearheaded a successful referendum to cut divorce waiting times.

Elected in 2014 as a councillor for the Stillorgan ward on Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council, she entered the Dáil after the 2016 election.

Peter Burke

Fine Gael’s Peter Burke, who takes up a new role as Minister of State in the Department of Housing, was re-elected in 2020 in the constituency of Longford Westmeath.

He was previously a prominent member of the Oireachtas Public Accounts Committee. Trained as a chartered accountant, he is married with two children.

Patrick O’Donovan

Patrick O’Donovan will be a junior minister at the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform with responsibility for the OPW.

First elected for Fine Gael to the Dáil in 2011, Mr O’Donovan is also a qualified industrial chemist.

He is a native of Newcastle West in Co Limerick.

He previously served as Minister of State for Tourism and Sport as well as Minister of State in the Department of Finance.

He was first elected to Limerick County Council in June 2004 when he topped the poll with 1,485 first preference votes.

Damien English

Damien English takes up a position at the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection. Photograph: Tom Honan for The Irish Times.
Damien English takes up a position at the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection. Photograph: Tom Honan for The Irish Times.

Damien English, also a Fine Gael TD, takes up a position at the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection with responsibility for employment affairs; and will also have responsibility for retail business at the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation.

He served in the last government as Minister of State at the Department of Housing.

Trained as a management accountant, he first entered politics in 1999 and was elected to Meath County Council. He is from Kells.

He was also a member of the British-Irish Parliamentary Assembly from 2002 to 2007.

Martin Heydon

Martin Heydon’s new role in the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine will see him have responsibility for research and development, farm safety, and new market development.

As the chair of the Fine Gael parliamentary party, Martin Heydon has played an instrumental role in communicating the views of the party to the leadership over the last number of months as a Government was formed.

He is a native of south Kildare with a background in farming.

Heydon joined Fine Gael in 2008 and has also served as chair of Fine Gael’s Internal Committee on Agriculture and Rural Affairs between 2011 and 2016.

Frank Feighan

Frank Feighan will be a Minister of State at the Department of Health with responsibility for public health, wellbeing and the national drugs strategy. File photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire
Frank Feighan will be a Minister of State at the Department of Health with responsibility for public health, wellbeing and the national drugs strategy. File photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire

Former senator Frank Feighan’s new role at the Department of Health will see him take over responsibility for public health, wellbeing and the national drugs strategy.

He gave Fine Gael one of its rare good news stories in last February’s general election when he won a seat in the Sligo-Leitrim constituency.

He is no stranger to controversy and faced public anger over his support of the Government for withdrawal of accident and emergency services from Roscommon County Hospital in 2011.

At one stage he received an anonymous letter hand-delivered to his Boyle constituency office containing a sinister death threat.

Colm Brophy

Colm Brophy’s new role is in the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade where he will have responsibility for overseas development aid and the diaspora. File photograph: Tom Honan/The Irish Times
Colm Brophy’s new role is in the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade where he will have responsibility for overseas development aid and the diaspora. File photograph: Tom Honan/The Irish Times

Colm Brophy’s new role is in the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade where he will have responsibility for overseas development aid and the diaspora.

He has been a TD since 2016 and is well-liked amongst his parliamentary colleagues and known for his affable manner. He is one of the party’s more high profile members in terms of media appearances especially on issues which have proven tricky for the Fine Gael party.

He is originally from Cabinteely, Co Dublin.

He was chair of the Dáil Committee for Budgetary Oversight, which was established in 2016 to enhance the role of the Oireachtas in the budgetary formation process, in the last Dáil.

Anne Rabbitte

Anne Rabbitte will be Minister of State for People with Disabilities.
Anne Rabbitte will be Minister of State for People with Disabilities.

Anne Rabbitte will be Minister of State for People with Disabilities at the Department of Children, Disability, Equality and Integration.

She is from Portumna, Co Galway. She has been a TD for the Galway East constituency since the 2016 general election. She was a member of Galway County Council from 2014 to 2016.

In May 2016, she was appointed to the Fianna Fáil front bench as spokeswoman on children and youth affairs.

She previously spent 25 years working for a financial institution and is a qualified financial adviser. She also ran a community childcare facility for three years.

Robert Troy

Robert Troy has been appointed to the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment where he will have responsibility for trade promotion.

He was elected to the 31st Dáil in February 2011. He was previously the Fianna Fáil spokesman on business, enterprise and innovation.

He was elected to Westmeath County Council in 2004. Before going to work in Dublin, he attended Emper National School and then St Finian’s College. Having worked in Dublin for five years, he returned to Westmeath to take over as postmaster in Ballynacargy Post Office.

Niall Collins

Niall Collins will have responsibility for skills and further education at the Department of Higher Education, Innovation and Science. File photograph: Alan Betson
Niall Collins will have responsibility for skills and further education at the Department of Higher Education, Innovation and Science. File photograph: Alan Betson

Niall Collins will have responsibility for skills and further education at the Department of Higher Education, Innovation and Science.

He has been a Fianna Fáil TD for Co Limerick since 2007 and when he featured in the “votegate” controversy in the Dáil last year he lost his portfolio as the party’s spokesman on jobs, enterprise and innovation.

He was an accountant and former business lecturer in Limerick Institute of Technology prior to his election to Dáil Éireann.

He previously worked with Ernst & Young. Prior to his election to Dáil Éireann, he was deputy CEO of the Shannon Regional Fisheries Board. He also previously held the Fianna Fáil role of spokesman on justice.

Jack Chambers

Jack Chambers will be minister of State at the Department of Finance.
Jack Chambers will be minister of State at the Department of Finance.

Jack Chambers will be minister of State at the Department of Finance with responsibility for financial institutions

He is from Co Galway, is a Fianna Fáil TD for Dublin West and a doctor. He was elected to Dáil Éireann on his first attempt in February 2016 and was re-elected in the 2020 general election.

Before entering the Dáil, he served as a Fingal county councillor and as deputy mayor. He has been the frontbench spokesman on defence, communications, climate action and environment. He has also been a member of a number of Oireachtas committees.

Mary Butler

Mary Butler will be Minister for Older People and Mental Health. She is a Waterford TD and a lifelong member of Fianna Fáil.

She successfully contested the local elections in the Comeragh area in 2014 and served as a councillor for two years. She then contested the general election in 2016 when she topped the poll.

She previously served as chair the Oireachtas Committee on Business Enterprise and Innovation. She has also been party spokeswoman on older people and health promotion.

Charlie McConalogue

Charlie McConalogue will be Minister of State at the Department of Justice with responsibility for law reform.

He was born in October 1977 and is from Gleneely in Co Donegal. From a farming background, he was educated at Carndonagh Community School before going on to UCD where he studied economics, politics and history.

He first ran for political office in 2009 when he was elected as a Donegal county councillor. In 2011, he was elected a Fianna Fáil TD for Donegal North East.

Thomas Byrne

Thomas Byrne will be Minister of State for European Affairs. He was educated St Mary’s Diocesan School and Trinity College Dublin.

He is a solicitor and a member of the Law Society of Ireland along with being a member of the Law Council of NUI Maynooth.

He has been a Fianna Fáil TD for the Meath East constituency since 2016, and previously from 2007 to 2011. He was a senator for the cultural and educational panel from 2011 to 2016. He was previously Fianna Fáil’s spokesman on education and skills.

Joe O’Brien

Joe O’Brien’s new role is at the Department of Rural and Community Development where he will take charge of community development and charities.

He is from Fingal and was a candidate at the most recent general and local elections for the Green Party. He has acted as the party’s spokesman on transport, tourism and sport.

He has previously carried out policy and advocacy work on minority access issues to the social protection and homelessness systems. He is a qualified project manager and has worked for the Immigrant Council of Ireland. He is married with three children.

Ossian Smyth

Ossian Smyth will take responsibility for public procurement and eGovernment at the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform.

He was elected as a Green Party councillor to Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council in 2014 and served as cathaoirleach of the council between 2018 and 2019.

He worked on a number for projects there which included setting a new levy on vacant shops to deal with absentee landlords.

He has previously worked as a technical project manager in St Vincent’s Hospital and has volunteered as a mentor, teaching young people computer programming and other technical skills.

Malcolm Noonan

Malcolm Noonan’s new role at the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage sees him take responsibility for heritage, while he will also have a role in relation to electoral reform.

He was previously Green Party spokesman on local government, regional development, and rural affairs. He has been a Green Party city and county councillor in Kilkenny since 2004, serving as mayor of Kilkenny in 2009.

Before entering politics he spent twenty years as a community and environmental activist with Friends of the Earth. His academic background is in rural development. He contested the leadership of the Green Party in 2011.

In all there are 20 Ministers of State, with the other three appointed last Saturday along with their senior counterparts. Previously appointed were Senator Pippa Hackett to be Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine and Hildegarde Naughton to be Minister of State at the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport.

Dara Calleary, the Government Chief Whip, was on Wednesday also appointed a Minister of State with responsibility for sport and the Gaeltacht, following an outcry over his being passed over for a senior ministerial role at the weekend.