independent

Saturday 19 April 2014

Reshuffle reprieve for ministers

Taoiseach Enda Kenny said the EU Council presidency will be a 'very big focus' for the government

Taoiseach Enda Kenny has given ministers a six-month breathing space, with under-performers threatened with a Cabinet reshuffle in the second half of next year.

Mr Kenny suggested there would be no department moves from January to the end of June as the Government will be focused on its term as president of the EU Council.

"I have spoken to each individual minister," the Taoiseach said.

"They've got a hell of a workload, for which they have been well prepared. So if you want to say that's a reprieve, say it's a reprieve."

Mr Kenny said the presidency would require a "very big focus" from Government, but he would not be drawn on his Cabinet plans after the term ends.

He added that matters surrounding a highly-speculated reshuffle would always be on people's minds.

"But I'm interested in results," he said.

As the Fine Gael-Labour coalition approaches its two-year anniversary this March, there has been much speculation that key Government ministers might be moved following a string of political gaffes in 2012.

Calls were made for the resignation of embattled Health Minister James Reilly following a number of personal and professional controversies. Government support for the minister was such that Tanaiste and Labour leader Eamon Gilmore was accused of favouring Dr Reilly over his own party colleague Roisin Shortall as she resigned over a dispute with Dr Reilly over his choice of sites for new primary care centres.

Elsewhere, Environment Minister Phil Hogan became a public hate figure following the introduction of the controversial household charge at the start of the year. The 100 euro levy was rolled out in January as an interim measure before the permanent property tax is imposed in July 2013.

Press Association

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