Taoiseach prepares to announce new Cabinet


The Taoiseach, Mr Ahern, will announce his new Cabinet line-up tomorrow in the first session of the 29th Dáil. He has indicated that major changes will be made in the shake-up, with speculation mounting over the future of several ministers.

The Progressive Democrats will have two Cabinet posts, and two more at Minister of State rank, though outgoing Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Ms Liz O'Donnell, will not be one of them.

Ms O'Donnell announced yesterday that she would not be available to take up a ministerial post, citing "personal reasons" for her decision.

It is likely that newly-elected Limerick TD, Mr Tim O'Malley, Dún Laoghaire's Ms Fiona O'Malley, Galway West TD, Mr Noel Grealish, or Longford-Roscommon's Ms Mae Sexton will rise in the party ranks.

Speculation has also mounted over the possible appointment of former Attorney General Mr Michael McDowell as Minister for Justice.

The Prgramme for Government, agreed between Fianna Fáil and the Progressive Democrats, was approved the Taoiseach and the Tánaiste, Ms Harney, yesterday.

Ms Harney is expected to take on a newly created Transport portfolio in the new Government.

Under the Agreed Programme for Government, investment in infrastructure will become the new priority, with the programme promising to create a National Development Finance Agency (NDFA) to raise €8 billion for infrastructure, though private companies will be encouraged to fund public projects, especially schools.