Saturday 20 January 2018

Key issues ministers must consider in new political set-up

Minister for Justice, Equality and Defence Frances Fitzgerald
Minister for Justice, Equality and Defence Frances Fitzgerald
Fionnan Sheahan

Fionnan Sheahan

Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Tanaiste Joan Burton are thrashing out the make-up of the Coalition through the reshuffle and the policies the Government will pursue to get it back on track.

Here are the major items on the agenda of each minister in the revamped Government:


* Regain the focus of the Government by identifying key policies to be implemented.

* Maintain stability within the Coalition.

* Outline an intended destination at the end of the next 18 months.

Tanaiste and Social Protection Minister

* Reassert Labour's identity in the Coalition.

* Steady the party ship and do succession planning for the future.

* Cut out the poverty traps preventing uptake of jobs by those on the dole.

Finance Minister

* Carefully target any tax cuts in the Budget.

* Get the balance right on the size of the adjustment.

* Keep chasing the EU bank debt deal.Public Expenditure

* Continue to drive public sector reform.

* Manage expectations on public sector pay.

* Get a grip on the troublesome departments in Budget estimates.

Foreign Affairs

* Get tightly involved in the growing crisis in Northern Ireland.

* Carefully watch the scrutiny of Ireland tax affairs and our international reputation.

* Examine the mix between diplomatic relations and economic importance of embassy locations.

Jobs Minister

* Maintain competitiveness as demands for wage rises escalate.

* Keep the Action Plan for Jobs going as it is delivering across government.

* Focus on lending to small business and development of homegrown enterprise.

Health Minister

* Get a handle on spending and implement Haddington Road.

* Regain confidence in the medical card allocation system.

* Make a decision on the future of Universal Health Insurance.


* Take account of the value of keeping small schools open.

* Review the hostile relationship with the church.

* Make long-term plans on how to fund third-level, which is linked to enterprise.


* Restructure the department in the wake of the scandals.

* Initiate the planned Garda reforms.

* Prepare the ground for the gay marriage referendum.


* Keep down the cost of childcare as it is inhibiting women in the workforce.

* Get a handle on the system for children in crisis.

* Continue to set a correct tone in responding to sex abuse reports.


* Maintain the vigilance in industrial relations across the sector.

* Keep a handle of cost to the consumer of public transport.

* Protect the tourism product from an image and cost perspective.


* Invest in housing and reform planning to allow fast-tracked changes.

* Follow through on the water charges implementation.

* Develop the powers of local government and property tax.


* Ensure liaison between industry and community on energy issues, like pylons.

* Bring in the broadcasting charge and decide its cost.

* Take steps to keep energy costs down for the consumer.


* Keep on top of the challenges from CAP and the end of milk quotas.

* Support the beef farming sector as it comes under pressure.

* Protect the brand and open new markets.

Arts, Heritage and Gaeltacht

* Set the correct tone around the 1916 commemorations.

* Link in with tourism and ensuring independence.

* Stick to commitments made on turf cutting.

Irish Independent

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