Monday 11 December 2017

Varadkar is Health Minister as Kenny confirms Cabinet reshuffle

Fionnan Sheahan

Fionnan Sheahan

Leo Varadkar is the new Health Minister as Taoiseach Enda Kenny has confirmed his new Cabinet line-up.

• Hogan going to Europe
• Varadkar becomes Health Minister
• Humphreys and Donohoe promoted in Fine Gael
• Kelly, O'Sullivan and White on Labour side

In the reshuffle, Mr Kenny also confirmed the nomination of Phil Hogan as new European Commissioner.

The new members of the Cabinet are Arts Minister Heather Humphreys, Transport Minister Paschal Donohoe, Environment Minister Alan Kelly and Communications Minister Alex White.

Super Junior Minister Ged Nash will sit at the Cabinet table.

Mr Kenny said he had submitted the resignation of a number of ministers to President Michael D Higgins: Eamon Gilmore, Ruairi Quinn, Pat Rabbitte, Mr Hogan and Jimmy Deenihan.

The reshuffle sees seven ministers staying put in their current portfolios: Mr Kenny, Tanaiste and Social Protection Minister Joan Burton, Finance Minister Michael Noonan, Public Expenditure Minister Brendan Howlin, Jobs Minister Richard Bruton, Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald

Agriculture, Defence and Marine Minister Simon Coveney.

And three ministers move portfolios: Health Minister Leo Varadkar, Foreign Affairs Minister Charlie Flanagan and Children and Public Health Minister Dr James Reilly.

Five ministers are promoted to Cabinet: Education Minister Jan O’Sullivan, who was a Super Junior Minister, Environment Minister Alan Kelly, Transport Minister Paschal Donohoe, Communications Minister Alex White, who were all junior ministers and Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Minister Heather Humphreys, who comes up from the backbenches.

Government Chief Whip Paul Kehoe remains in place with Super Junior Minister Ged Nash coming in as a minister in the Department of Jobs.

Mr Deenihan becomes Junior Minister at the Taoiseach’s Department, after being demoted.

Mr Kenny said each minister will outline how she or he in their portfolio, will promote jobs and better support our working families.

The Taoiseach said the Government will shortly publish a Statement of Priorities for the remainder of our term.

“As we return to better or more ‘normal’ times this document outlines how we intend to give a hand to working families along with low and middle-income workers.

“We intend to make sure that recovery is felt and deeply in every city, town and village across this country,” he said.

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