Thursday 22 March 2018

I'd be disappointed to lose Cabinet role: Quinn

Minister for Education Ruairi Quinn
Minister for Education Ruairi Quinn

EDUCATION Minister Ruairi Quinn would be "disappointed" to lose his Cabinet post in a reshuffle later this year, writes Katherine Donnelly.

As Mr Quinn heads into his fourth round of annual teacher conferences, he said that he is "really finding the job fascinating" and would like to see out the full government term.

"I am very attached to what I am doing," Mr Quinn told the Irish Independent.

The autumn reshuffle will coincide with the appointment of Ireland's next EU Commissioner, which is expected to be a Fine Gael nominee.

There has been speculation that Mr Quinn (68) will be replaced, as Labour seeks to use the reshuffle to promote new faces on the front bench ahead of the next general election.

The last general election in 2011 was thought to be Mr Quinn's final electoral foray, which would greatly minimise his chances of being kept in the Cabinet in the run-up to the next election.

However, the Dublin South East public representative insists: "It is my intention to stand again."

He recalled how at Christmas 2010, Labour Party leader Eamon Gilmore asked his parliamentary party to come up with priorities for the next government, which they were working towards being a part of.

Because of the economic situation at the time, Mr Gilmore wanted ideas that could be implemented without costing "an arm and a leg", said Mr Quinn.

Mr Quinn said he drew up a list of 10-12 items, three-quarters of which ended up in the Programme for Government.

"So I am very attached to what I am doing because I identified it," said Mr Quinn.

He detailed some of the initiatives he had driven, such as greater pluralism and changes in patronage at primary level, the reorganisation of the education and training boards and reform of the Junior Cycle and the transition from second-level to third-level.

Irish Independent

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