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The winners and losers as new Cabinet is drawn up

HIGH-profile TDs Leo Varadkar and Ruairi Quinn could be squeezed out of the new Cabinet.

Labour appear set to win the coveted posts of Foreign Affairs, Social Protection and Education as well as a newly formed office of public sector reform.

Fine Gael's agreement to split the Department of Finance into two portfolios was necessary to ensure a positive outcome from the coalition talks, but FG's Michael Noonan is still expected be the main man.

His party will also be in charge of the key Enterprise, Trade and Employment job and Dr James Reilly seems certain to be the new Minister for Health.

However, as Enda Kenny and Eamon Gilmore met today to decide on the exact make-up of their frontbench, some high-profile TDs such as Leo Varadkar and Ruairi Quinn were anxiously waiting for "the phone call".


Despite being two of the most well-known members of the new Government, they are among a number of frontbenchers who could be left out because of geography.

Labour is set to fill at least three of its five Cabinet positions with Dublin TDs Joan Burton, Pat Rabbitte and Mr Gilmore, who is tipped for Foreign Affairs.

Fine Gael will also have a strong Dublin contingent in the form of Dr Reilly, Richard Bruton, Alan Shatter and Frances Fitzgerald.

Ms Burton today refused to speculate on who would be in line for ministries.

"That is a job that has been left entirely to Taoiseach-elect Enda Kenny and Tanaiste-elect Eamon Gilmore," she said.

It is anticipated that the exact make-up of the new Cabinet will become clearer before Mr Kenny is officially proposed for Taoiseach on Wednesday.

As they shook on a coalition pact, both Fine Gael and Labour have said that there will be no honeymoon period for the incoming government.

The have compromised on a range of areas including health, public sector redundancies, deficit reduction targets and mortgage assistance.

Within 100 days they have promised to set up a jobs fund that will help provide for an extra 15,000 places in training, work experience and educational opportunities.

Ms Burton explained: "Hopefully by the summer, we will have set out a jobs fund mini-budget."

She said this would help stimulate employment in areas like hotels, restaurants, hairdressers and small building projects.

Hard-pressed homeowners will welcome moves to increase mortgage interest relief to 30pc, although the plan stops short of offering a debt forgiveness scheme. The FG/Labour coalition is offering "a radical approach" to ensure that families are not forced out of their homes.

There will be a two-year moratorium on repossessions of modest family homes where the owners make an honest effort to pay their debts.


The Money Advice and Budgeting Service is to be transformed into a strengthened personal debt management agency with extra legal powers.

The programme for government how much more money will be pumped into the banks.

Instead of cutting the 30,000 public sector jobs promised by Fine Gael the two parties agreed to compromise on a figure somewhere between 18,000 and 25,000.