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I can do more on backbenches than as a junior justice minister

Jim O'Callaghan


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Fianna Fail’s Jim O’Callaghan turned down a ministry

Fianna Fail’s Jim O’Callaghan turned down a ministry

Fianna Fail’s Jim O’Callaghan turned down a ministry

The good news is that we now have a Government. After a very indecisive election result and 140 days of deliberation and talks, the three Government parties deserve to be commended for agreeing an ambitious and progressive Programme for Government.

There is more good news in that we have in Government some very competent people assuming senior ministerial office for the first time. Although Fianna Fáil did not secure the justice portfolio, I am very encouraged by the fact we have a highly capable person in Helen McEntee in charge of that department. Anyone who has seen her perform in the European affairs portfolio will know she is a person of real substance and ability.

An Taoiseach, Micheál Martin, asked me on Wednesday afternoon if I would become a junior minister. After careful consideration I declined. The reason I declined is because I believe that my energy and abilities would best serve the country not by being a junior member of the Government but by being a backbench Fianna Fáil TD. Before explaining this decision I want to point out what I believe is a potential downside in the allocation of portfolios and why I believe Fianna Fáil should have sought either the justice or foreign affairs ministries.