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Monday 18 November 2019

The runners in Cabinet battle

Fionnan Sheahan Political Editor

THE make-up of the current 15 government departments will be radically overhauled under the new coalition administration.

The Department of Finance will be split into two, with one minister responsible for economic planning and banking and another responsible for public-sector reform and spending.

Fine Gael will take the traditional Finance Minister's job and Labour the public-sector role.

The creation of a second cabinet position in the finance sector will mean the merging of some of the smaller departments.

The composition of the remainder of the departments is expected to be changed to put a more 'business' front on it.

Enda Kenny and Eamon Gilmore will then hammer out the portfolios and the names to take up these positions.

A specific minister is expected to be put in charge of Fine Gael's 'NewEra' plan, which sets out investment in water, broadband, energy and communications.

The speculation is intensifying on who will be in and out of this new Cabinet.


  • Michael Noonan: Rejuvenated and the star player in the Fine Gael campaign.
  • Joan Burton: Deputy leader tipped for the new public sector and spending post.
  • Phil Hogan: Enda Kenny's right-hand man and a key player in the party make-up.
  • Pat Rabbitte: Fancied for a big post as he is trusted by Eamon Gilmore.
  • James Reilly: Deputy leader will be in the frame and Fine Gael's favourite to get health.
  • Richard Bruton: Immense grasp of economic policy and cannot be left out.
  • Brendan Howlin: Played his way back into contention and solidified it in negotiations.
  • Alan Shatter: Backed the right horse in the heave and impresses the party leader.
  • Frances Fitzgerald: Crucially won a seat back and expected to be in the line-up.
  • Simon Coveney: The second city will always want its own cabinet member.


  • Ruairi Quinn: The most experienced of them all but may still find that he has not made the cut.
  • Leo Varadkar: No doubt he is highly able, but the rising star is being squeezed on all sides in Dublin.
  • Sean Sherlock: Best of the new generation in Labour and certainly in the shake-up.
  • Fergus O'Dowd: Heavily favoured on geography grounds and has had a very good campaign.
  • Jan O'Sullivan: Already has Noonan on her patch so in danger of getting edged out.
  • Roisin Shortall: Upped her game substantially over the past 18 months.

Dark horses

  • Charlie Flanagan and Willie Penrose: The midlands are wide open for a cabinet hopeful.
  • Sean Barrett: Close to the party leader but also being linked with Ceann Comhairle.

Irish Independent

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