Thursday 22 March 2018

Who are the new junior ministers?

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar with, from left, Brendan Griffin, Kevin ‘Boxer’ Moran, Michael D’Arcy, Ciaran Cannon, Jim Daly and John Paul Phelan. Photo: Steve Humphreys
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar with, from left, Brendan Griffin, Kevin ‘Boxer’ Moran, Michael D’Arcy, Ciaran Cannon, Jim Daly and John Paul Phelan. Photo: Steve Humphreys
Niall O'Connor

Niall O'Connor

Michael D'Arcy (47) - Minister of State for Financial Services and Insurance

The Wexford TD has been rewarded with arguably the most influential role on the junior benches, having worked for many months behind the scenes on Mr Varadkar's leadership bid. He is one of the Taoiseach's so-called 'choir boys' - a label given to him and his colleagues by Dublin Bay South TD Kate O'Connell.

His father Michael served as a junior minister in the 1980s.

John Paul Phelan (38) -Minister of State for Local Government

Another so-called 'choir boy', the Carlow/Kilkenny TD is one of Mr Varadkar's closest confidantes. Despite being in the Oireachtas as a TD and senator for 15 years, Mr Phelan has never held a ministerial post. While a low-key contributor to Dáil debates, Mr Phelan's profile grew as a member of the Banking Inquiry.

Brendan Griffin (34) - Minister of State for Tourism and Sport

The Kerry TD was a leading member of the one-time 'five-a-side club' - which was once seen as being a thorn in the side of former Taoiseach Enda Kenny.

Mr Griffin, a former publican who topped the poll in 2011, learned his political trade as a parliamentary assistant to the ex-minister Jimmy Deenihan. He is popular within social circles and known as a talented impersonator of fellow politicians.

Ciaran Cannon (51) - Minister of State for Diaspora and International Development

A keen cyclist, the Galway East TD has returned to the ministerial benches having previously been dropped by Mr Kenny.

Mr Cannon joined Fine Gael in 2009 after previously serving with the Progressive Democrats (PDs). The father of one served as the fourth and final leader of the party.

Jim Daly (45) - Minister of State for Mental Health and Older People

The former primary school teacher has proven to be a strong Dáil performer in recent months, championing issues such as children and education. He is also regularly trotted out to defend his party in media appearances.

Mr Daly is from Clonakilty, Co Cork, and is one of 11 siblings.

He takes his counsel from his parliamentary assistant Darren Hourihane, who played a behind-the-scenes role in Mr Varadkar's leadership campaign.

Other Ministers of State

Helen McEntee Minister for European Affairs

Patrick O'Donovan Minister of State for Public Procurement, Open Government and eGovernment

Catherine Byrne Minister of State for Drugs and Health Promotion

Pat Breen Minister of State for Trade, Employment, Business, EU Digital Single Market and Data Protection

Sean Kyne Minister of State for Natural Resources, Community Affairs and Digital Development

John Halligan Minister of State for Training, Skills, Innovation, Research and Development

Andrew Doyle Minister of State for Food, Forestry and Horticulture

Damien English Minister of State for Housing and Urban Development

Kevin 'Boxer' Moran Minister of State for the Office of Public Works and Flood Relief

David Stanton Minister of State for Equality, Immigration and Integration

Irish Independent

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