Friday 23 March 2018

Andrews turned down Health

Fionnan Sheahan and Fiach Kelly

CHILDREN'S Minister Barry Andrews was offered a full Cabinet portfolio in Taoiseach Brian Cowen's planned reshufífle, which fell apart.

But Mr Andrews rebuffed the Taoiseach, who phoned him shortly after midnight to offer the promotion.

He told Mr Cowen he did not want the job. He wished to stay to put together a package for a referendum on child rights.

"He understood I wanted to look after the referendum, but that's all irrelevant now," Mr Andrews said.

Junior ministers John Curran, Dara Calleary, Dick Roche and Sean Connick were also being mooted for Cabinet promotion.

Fianna Fail backbenchers Darragh O'Brien, Sean O Fearghail, Michael McGrath and Timmy Dooley were mentioned yesterday as being in line for junior ministerial posts.

Junior Minister Conor Lenihan said TDs were offered positions as far back as last Friday.

Mr Andrews was thought to be in line for the Health portfolio, Mr Curran was thought to be in line for Justice, Mr Roche for Foreign Affairs, Mr Calleary for Enterprise -- where he already serves as junior minister -- and Mr Connick for Defence.

Mr O'Brien was being mooted as new Government Chief Whip. The final Cabinet vacancy was not clear. Several backbenchers have said they would have rejected an offer.

Irish Independent

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