Thursday 19 October 2017

The winners and losers: Varadkar sacks Cork TD Dara Murphy as he picks his junior ministerial team

The new Taoiseach has risked backlash from some of his loyal backers by failing to promote those who were outspoken supporters during his bid to become Fine Gael leader.

Leo Varadkar with his junior ministerial team Photo: Steve Humphreys
Leo Varadkar with his junior ministerial team Photo: Steve Humphreys
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar. Photo: PA News
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar. Photo: PA News

Niall O'Connor and Philip Ryan

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has sacked European Affairs Minister Dara Murphy, telling the Cork North Central TD he had to "look after those who supported me."

In a phone call with Mr Murphy this morning, Mr Varadkar said there was no room for him in his junior ministerial ranks.

The phonecall came as Taoiseach Leo Varadkar begins the process of filling his junior ministerial team.

Mr Murphy told the new Taoiseach that this approach was a "different style to the one adopted by Enda Kenny."

Leo Varadkar with his junior ministerial team Photo: Steve Humphreys
Leo Varadkar with his junior ministerial team Photo: Steve Humphreys

He added that he had worked strenuously as European Affairs Minister and had attended hundreds of meetings relevant to the Brexit discussion and other issues.

But Mr Varadkar "did not respond", adding that he had made his decision.

Speaking to Independent.ie, Mr Murphy said he wishes whoever succeeds him well into the future.

“I am surprised, however, that the new Taoiseach would change the entire foreign affairs team," pointing out that Charlie Flanagan has also left Foreign Affairs.

Leo Varadkar with his junior ministerial team Photo: Steve Humphreys
Leo Varadkar with his junior ministerial team Photo: Steve Humphreys

"It was made clear to me that Leo felt he had to look after the people who supported him."

Mr Murphy backed Simon Coveney in the leadership race.

A source close to Mr Varadkar said: "All appointments were made on the basis of performance."

Meath East TD Helen McEntee has been given a Brexit orientated role as European Affairs Minister.

Damien English will remain as Junior Minister for Housing - the same role he held before the Fine Gael leadership campaign.

Mr English was Simon Coveney's campaign manager and is one two of his supporters expected to be retained by Mr Varadkar.

Meanwhile, one of the first to receive a call this morning from the Fine Gael leader was Wicklow TD Andrew Doyle, who despite speculation is remaining in the Department of Agriculture.

Carlow/Kilkenny TD John Paul Phelan has been promoted, sources say. He will be a Minister of State in the Department of Housing where he will have responsibility over local government issues.

Galway West TD Sean Kyne also was told today that he has been given a ministry.

Cork South West TD Jim Daly has been appointed as Minister of State for Older People and Mental Health. This portfolio was previously held by Meath East Helen McEntee, who is expected to also remain as a junior minister.

Clare TD Pat Breen will remain a Minister of State but it is unclear what his role will be as some his of portfolio was merged with the Department of Social Protection last week.

Galway TD Ciaran Cannon is now Minister of the State for the Disapora and International Development, a role previously held by Chief Whip Joe McHugh.

Sources are also saying Patrick O'Donovan is one of the two new junior finance ministers.

Mr Varadkar began notifying his new team last night - with sitting ministers understood to be the first to be contacted.

He is due to notify his new Cabinet this morning but making a formal announcement in the Dáil later.

The only female TD sacked by Leo Varadkar has said it is clear she was punished for backing his rival Simon Coveney.

Offaly TD Marcella Corcoran Kennedy told Independent.ie that politics is a “numbers game”, adding: “There needs to be more female voices.”

Ms Corcoran Kennedy was dropped as Minister of State with responsibility for Health Promotion.

“He (Mr Varadkar) told me he needs to make room for others. I was very committed to the role of health and health promotion,” she said.

Online Editors

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