Tanaiste Mary Coughlan was shifted from her key trade and employment role in a surprise move as part of the long-awaited Cabinet reshuffle today.
Taoiseach Brian Cowen appointed Education Minister Batt O'Keeffe to a new rebranded position of Enterprise, Trade and Innovation Minister.
Ms Coughlan will take control of the renamed Department of Education and Skills.
In an expected move, junior minister Tony Killeen, TD for Clare, will take over recently-resigned Defence Minister Willie O'Dea's job.
In another promotion to Cabinet, chief whip Pat Carey will take the reins at the Department of Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs, which will become the Department of Community, Equality and Gaeltacht Affairs.
In what will be seen as a demotion, Mary Hanafin loses her job as Social and Family Affairs Minister in a shift to head up the Department of Arts, Sport and Tourism, vacated by the resignation of Martin Cullen.
Eamon O'Cuiv will take over the rebranded role as Social Protection Minister.
As expected, Green TDs Ciaran Cuffe and Mary White are to be appointed junior ministerial roles, yet to be confirmed, along with Fianna Fail Wexford TD Sean Connick.
Junior Minister John Curran has been promoted to chief whip.