Deenihan 'upbeat' despite loss of job
JIMMY Deenihan, who lost his job as Arts Minister in last week's government reshuffle, is remaining upbeat and says he is looking forward to the challenges of his new role working with the Irish abroad.
Friday's cabinet reshuffle saw the Finuge-based Fine Gael TD lose the Arts, Heritage and Gaeltacht portfolio even though he has performed very well in the role for the last three years. However, there was some consolation in his appointment as Minister of State with Responsibility for the Diaspora.
It is the first time the Irish government will have a minister dedicated to the Irish abroad and it is a position that Irish expats generally and Irish Amercians in particular have wanted to see introduced for some time.
Following his removal from Cabinet, Minister Deenihan said it had been a great honour and a privilege to serve in Government since 2011 and he thanked Taoiseach Enda Kenny for asking him to serve around the Cabinet table.
"I can testify that within the Government, the Fine Gael and Labour parties made every decision with a view to restoring Irish economic sovereignty. I feel that much has been achieved in these past three years," he said.
A relatively upbeat Deputy Deenihan said he was looking forward to new challenges.
"I lost my job but we have a saying in Kerry, when you lose, you just pick up your bags and go on," said Minister Deenihan.
"I want to sincerely thank my wife Mary, my family, friends, supporters and staff for their encouragement throughout my tenure as minister. I am now looking forward to working with the global Irish diaspora in my new role," he said.
Minister Deenihan said he was very proud of what he had achieved while in office, especially the creation of a national culture policy, the promotion of film in Ireland, the success of Limerick's City of Culture programme and initial preparations for the 1916 centenary commemorations.
He also wished his successor, Heather Humphreys, the best of luck in her new role as as Arts Minister and assured her of his full support. Minister Deenihan gave no indication as to his plans regarding the next General Election but it is widely expected that he will seek another Dáil term.