Kenny prepares to appoint his junior ministers
TAOISEACH Enda Kenny will dish out the consolation prizes of junior-ministerial posts today to those who lost out in his cabinet selections.
He is expected to name his line-up of ministers of State before he heads off to Brussels for an EU summit. Michael Ring and Fergus O'Dowd are top of the list for promotion.
Despite past pledges to reduce the number of junior ministers to 12, the new coalition is expected to have 15 such posts. Fine Gael will get 10 junior ministers -- including the Government Chief Whip -- and Labour five, including the super junior minister.
Mr Kenny has already appointed Paul Kehoe as Government Chief Whip and Willie Penrose as super junior minister for housing and planning. Both these junior ministers will sit at the cabinet table.
Owing to the large number of Dublin ministers with senior cabinet positions -- nine of the 15 come from the capital -- the junior ministerial ranks are expected to be stacked more in favour of the rest of the country.
In particular, Mr Kenny will appoint four ministers from Connacht-Ulster, starting with his Mayo constituency colleague, Michael Ring.
Dinny McGinley from Donegal South-West is expected to become minister for the Irish language.
He will be joined in the junior-ministerial ranks by John Perry from Sligo-North Leitrim and possibly Frank Feighan from Roscommon-South Leitrim. Joe McHugh from Donegal North-East is also in the frame.
Ciaran Cannon from Galway East is the dark horse as he is a new TD, but he has served four years in the Seanad.
In Munster, David Stanton in Cork East, Dan Neville in Limerick and Tom Hayes in Tipperary South are in the frame for junior ministries.
In Leinster, Fergus O'Dowd (Louth), Shane McEntee (Meath East), Andrew Doyle (Wicklow) and Damien English (Meath West) are in the frame, while the chances of Liam Twomey from Wexford have dropped due to Mr Kehoe's elevation.
In the capital, Brian Hayes from Dublin South-West is tipped for elevation. Mr Kenny will also be under immense pressure to set aside his differences with Lucinda Creighton from Dublin South-East and appoint her.
But the consequences of the leadership heave against Mr Kenny remain. Denis Naughten, Michael Creed, John Deasy and Billy Timmins are all expected to be left out.
Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore has a lot of Labour TDs to placate after his cabinet selections.
Roisin Shortall and Jan O'Sullivan are regarded as definites, while Sean Sherlock, Emmet Stagg and Ciaran Lynch will also come in for consideration.