Thursday 14 December 2017

Shortall faces losing out on promotion

Fionnan Sheahan Political Editor

After being snubbed by Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore for a Cabinet ministry in the new Government, Roisin Shortall is in danger of being disappointed again.

The Junior Health Minister is the favourite to replace Willie Penrose as the Labour Party's so-called 'Super Junior Minister' who sits at the Cabinet table.

But Labour figures are pointing outside of Dublin for Mr Penrose's replacement in the ministerial ranks, putting Jan O'Sullivan also in the frame.

Mr Penrose's position in the Cabinet is expected to go to a sitting junior minister, meaning Ms Shortall, Ms O'Sullivan, Kathleen Lynch, Sean Sherlock or Alan Kelly are in line for a promotion.

The Housing Minister post at the Department of the Environment is likely to go to a backbencher, with Emmet Stagg, Ciaran Lynch, Joe Costello and Alex White being mentioned.

The party is already top heavy with ministers based in the capital. Mr Penrose's departure leaves Brendan Howlin as the only Labour minister from outside Dublin in the Cabinet.

Mr Gilmore, Pat Rabbitte, Ruairi Quinn and Joan Burton are from Dublin constituencies.

The Tanaiste is thought to be considering waiting until after the Budget to announce the replacements.

Meanwhile, Fine Gael deputy Tom Hayes said yesterday he would not be resigning the party whip over the impending closure of Kickham Barracks in Clonmel, Co Tipperary.

"Obviously people will ask me, but I'm not doing it," the South Tipperary TD said.

"I'm not in the Cabinet; if I was in the Cabinet I might consider it. If I could achieve anything by doing it, I would, but I don't think there's anything to be gained," he added.

Irish Independent

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