Monday 26 September 2016

Kenny hints at plans to reshuffle government ministers next year

Niall O'Connor, At the Fine Gael think-in in Kildare

Published 12/09/2016 | 15:04

An Taoiseach Enda Kenny at the officially opening of The Franchise Show at the Main Hall, RDS, Dublin. Picture by Philip Fitzpatrick / Collins Photos
An Taoiseach Enda Kenny at the officially opening of The Franchise Show at the Main Hall, RDS, Dublin. Picture by Philip Fitzpatrick / Collins Photos

Taoiseach Enda Kenny has hinted at plans to reshuffle government ministers next year.

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The Fine Gael leader also took a swipe at John Halligan and wouldn't say whether he has confidence in his junior minister.

Mr Kenny even outlined his intention to replace Mr Halligan as minister for state with responsiblity for training and skills - if he decides to resign over the Waterford hospital controversy.

Speaking to reporters at the Fine Gael think-in in Kildare, Mr Kenny hinted at plans to reshuffle his team of ministers next year.

"As I said, my mandate is one I am not going to walk away from. I will of course reflect on the make-up of government and the ministers of State next year. And that's part of my responsiblity also."

Asked whether he would sack Mr Halligan, Mr Kenny said the removal of a minister is the perogative of Cabinet.

But he said he does not "condone" remarks made by Mr Halligan in an interview with the Sunday Independent.

Mr Kenny also backed the response by Health Minister Simon Harris who is standing over the finding of the independent review which recommended against the introduction of a second cath lab in Waterford.

"I would expect that ministers and ministers of State would get on with their job that they've been assigned statutory responsiblity."

The Taoiseach also said he would seek to replace Mr Halligan if he resigns.

"If it transpire that somebody decides to retire or resign from government, I will of course make a replacement."

Asked whether he has confidence in Mr Halligan, Mr Kenny said he expects Mr Halligan to "do his job".

Mr Kenny was also asked about an interview he gave to Pat Kenny on 'Newstalk' today during which he said he has his "mojo back".

The Mayo TD replied:

"It's my zeal for life in politics. It's the recovery of meeting the challenge in politics in very difficult situations."

Mr Kenny said the current government is very different than its predecessor but that achievements have already been made in areas such as housing, homelessness and education.

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