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Gormley says he wants to hold onto his Cabinet job

EMBATTLED Green leader John Gormley wants to be in Cabinet after the much-anticipated reshuffle.

The Environment Minister has indicated that reports about a rotation system that would see him resign from his ministry in favour of Ciaran Cuffe may not carry much weight.

In his clearest statement of intent yet, Mr Gormley said last night that while his position is a matter for the Taoiseach, he is happy working in the Department of Environment.

Asked about what internal pact his party made after the last election, the Dublin South East TD said: "It's speculation and the fact of the matter is that regardless of which minister you speak to they are not going to say, 'Oh, I'm going to be in Cabinet next week.'"

He added: "I hope to continue in my role. I hope to continue in Cabinet. But that is a matter for the Taoiseach."

The comments suggest that Dun Laoghaire TD Ciaran Cuffe will miss out on a much coveted seat at the Cabinet table.

The Greens are facing into the Cabinet reshuffle after three weeks of turmoil that saw Deirdre de Burca resign from the party and Trevor Sargent resign as Food Minister.

The party's deputy leader Mary White is expected to take up the position left vacant by Sargent's exit, which came following revelations in this newspaper that he tried to influence a prosecution.

However, earlier this week, party chairman Dan Boyle indicated that he anticipates the party will get an extra junior ministry in the shake-up.

Taoiseach Brian Cowen is expected to announce a radical reworking of portfolios when he returns from the St Patrick's Day visit to the White House.

Green Party TDs and Senators have agreed to leave the final decision on what the party wants from the reshuffle to John Gormley.

He and the Taoiseach are expected to hammer out a deal that will see a new emphasis placed on sections of economy.

They will also have to fill Willie O'Dea's seat in the Department of Defence, while Tourism Minister Martin Cullen is also expected to resign because of ill health.

Meanwhile, Deirdre de Burca has launched another attack on her former colleagues, saying they should pull out of the coalition "sooner rather than later".

The Wicklow woman says the party is now supporting legislation that "conflicts with its fundamental principles".

She singled out Nama as an example and said the party failed to negotiate strongly on issues such as the Shannon stopover, Corrib gas project and Tara.