New laws needed to give Howlin powers
NEW Public Sector Reform Minister Brendan Howlin won't officially have any powers to do his job until some time next month. Until then, Mr Howlin will be a "minister without portfolio" based in the Department of Finance.
New laws have to be passed to split the Department of Finance, between Michael Noonan's section in charge of budgets and banking, and Mr Howlin's role on reform and spending.
Taoiseach Enda Kenny announced Mr Howlin is a "member of the Government without portfolio", pending the completion of the process required to establish the new departments.
Mr Howlin insists he is being briefed by department officials in the interim.
Mr Noonan dismissed speculation that the split in the department came about because of a row between Fine Gael and the Labour Party.
He said the division of his department arose from Richard Bruton's proposals when Fine Gael was in opposition.