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Headache for party leaders as dozens of disappointed TDs vie for junior roles

17 more ministries of state expected to be allocated


Fianna Fáil’s Thomas Byrne. Photo: Arthur Carron

Fianna Fáil’s Thomas Byrne. Photo: Arthur Carron

Fianna Fáil’s Thomas Byrne. Photo: Arthur Carron

The three Government party leaders are facing a fresh headache in selecting ministers of state after dozens of TDs were left disappointed by the Cabinet appointments.

Taoiseach Micheál Martin, Tánaiste Leo Varadkar and Climate Minister Eamon Ryan are expected to allocate a further 17 ministries of state in the coming days.

Mr Martin and Mr Varadkar have seven positions to fill and Mr Ryan has three.

Mr Martin shocked his party colleagues with his decision to snub long-serving TDs while appointing a first-time Dáil deputy Norma Foley as Education Minister and former Social Democrat TD Stephen Donnelly as Health Minister.

There was also anger over the decision not to give Dara Calleary a full Cabinet post.

Among those expecting a ministry will be Thomas Byrne, who has been tipped for a European Affairs role.

Long-serving TDs Robert Troy and Niall Collins will also expect to be made junior ministers as will Mr Martin's key lieutenant in Cork, Michael Moynihan. Fianna Fáil will be expected to appoint ministers in the west where Charlie McConalogue and Marc MacSharry could be in line for promotion.

The only farmer in the party, Jackie Cahill, in Tipperary, could also be well placed to take an agriculture position. In Dublin, Jack Chambers will be disappointed if he does not get a post, as will Jim O'Callaghan.

The three female Fianna Fáil TDs who are serving their second term in office, Anne Rabbitte, Mary Butler and Niamh Smyth, will also be vying for ministries.

Kildare North TD James Lawless will also be eager to get a portfolio.

Mr Varadkar is also facing difficult choices after he was forced to demote almost half of his Cabinet.

Outgoing minister Michael Ring could go to Tourism and Sport, a job he previously held.

Former culture minister Josepha Madigan is expected to feature in Mr Varadkar's line-up, which will mean her constituency colleague Neale Richmond will lose out.

Ex-education minister Donegal's Joe McHugh will also be hopeful of a role and he may be helped by geography.

Mr Varadkar has few women to choose from in his party's ranks but Jennifer Carroll MacNeill is seen as most likely to get the nod - perhaps in a newly created role as a minister with responsibility for tackling domestic violence.

She is a barrister and a former adviser to former Taoiseach Enda Kenny, former justice minister Alan Shatter and former housing minister Eoghan Murphy.

Others in Fine Gael who will hope for a junior brief include outgoing ministers of state Brendan Griffin, Patrick O'Donovan and John Paul Phelan, though Mr Phelan's chances may not be helped by the incident during the government formation process when he reportedly labelled some Green Party members as "nutters".

He will be up against outgoing super-junior defence minister Paul Kehoe, who is based in the south east. Fine Gael also has no shortage of backbench TDs who will want career progression, with Peter Burke and Martin Heydon foremost among those most likely to get a junior ministerial role.

Mr Varadkar will have a number of committee chairperson jobs that can be allocated to Fine Gael TDs who lose out.

They are often high-profile roles that come with an annual payment of €9,000.

The Irish Independent also understands Mr Varadkar told his party that the Government will be putting forward a Fine Gael nominee for the role of Leas-Cheann Comhairle. The €134,000 salary is the same as junior ministers are entitled to.

There has been speculation this could be a role for Richard Bruton or Charlie Flanagan, who both lost out on Cabinet seats.

Meanwhile, the Green Party leader will also have to appease his TDs after deciding to appoint Senator Pippa Hackett to Cabinet. Neasa Hourigan, Malcolm Noonan, Marc Ó Cathasaigh, Ossian Smyth and Joe O'Brien are mentioned as potential candidates for the roles.

Irish Independent

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