Sunday 23 October 2016

High-profile Fianna Fáil TD John McGuinness left out of the party's new frontbench

Cormac McQuinn, Political Correspondent

Published 18/05/2016 | 16:04

Fianna Fáil's John McGuinness. Photo: Tom Burke
Fianna Fáil's John McGuinness. Photo: Tom Burke

HIGH-profile Fianna Fáil TD John McGuinness has been left out of the party's new frontbench.

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Micheál Martin this afternoon announced the team that will shadow the minority government’s ministers and the outspoken Carlow-Kilkenny TD was not among them.

Mr McGuinness was the party’s spokesman on small business in the last Dáil as well as being the chairman of the powerful Public Accounts Committee.

Mr Martin said that in selecting his new frontbench is he “sought to blend experience and new energy, drawing on the diverse talents of our newly enlarged Dáil party.”

He also said: “I’ve adopted a view that anyone who will serve as chairperson of a committee will  not be on the front bench.”

Asked what job Mr McGuinness would get Mr Martin replied: “There’ll be the charipersons coming forward and certainly he’ll be considered in the light of those.”

“I’ll be talking to quite a number of people who are interested in becoming the chairs of various committees. I’m not making that announcement today.”

As well as being party leader, Mr Martin has taken on the role of spokesman on Northern Ireland.

Michael Moynihan has been named Party Whip, Michael McGrath will remain the party’s spokesman on finance, while Dara Calleary will shadow new Public Expenditure and Reform minister Paschal Donohoe.

Dublin Fingal’s Darragh O’Brien got Foreign Affairs while Éamon Ó Cuív is spokesman on Regional Development, Rural Affairs and the Gaelteacht.

Niall Collins moves from the justice brief to Jobs and is replaced by newly elected Dublin Bay South , barrister Jim O’Callaghan.

Meath East’s Thomas Byrne got Education, Barry Cowen is spokesman on Housing, Planning and Local Government and Charlie McConalgue moves from education to Agriculture.

Robert Troy is Transport, Tourism and Sport spokesman while Timmy Dooley got the Communications, Environment and Natural Resources Job.

Cork North Central TD Billy Kelleher remains spokesman on health while newly elected Galway East TD Anne Rabbitte will be children and youth affairs spokeswoman.

Mayo TD – and former Reserve Defence Forces soldier Lisa Chambers has been named Defence spokeswoman.

Other appointments include Niamh Smyth (Arts), Margaret Murphy O’Mahoney (Disability), James Browne (Mental Health) and John Lahart is spokesman on Dublin.

Catherine Ardagh is the Fianna Fáil leader in the Seanad.

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