Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Ireland: Enda Kenny's New Ministers March 9, 2011: Analysis

Taoiseach Enda Kenny has named his new Cabinet,
  • Eamon Gilmore - Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade.
  • Michael Noonan- Minister for Finance,
  • Brendan Howlin- Public Expenditure and Reform.
  • Alan Shatter- Minister for Justice, Equality and Defence
  • Joan Burton-Social Protection
  • James Reilly- Minister for Health
  • Frances Fitzgerald-Minister for Children.
  • Ruairi Quinn- Education and Skills
  • Richard Bruton- Minister for Enterprise, Jobs and Innovation
  • Leo Varadkar- Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport.
  • Phil Hogan Minister for Environment, Community and Local Government
  • Jimmy Deenihan- Arts, Heritage and Gaeltacht Affairs
  • Pat Rabbitte-Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources
  • Simon Coveney- Minister for Agriculture, Marine and Food
  • Willie Penrose is 'super junior minister' at Environment with responsibility for housing and planning
  • Paul Kehoe-Government Chief Whip.
Ten of the 15 were either senior or junior ministers in the Rainbow Government of 1994.
Fine Gael's Seán Barrett was elected as the new Ceann Comhairle.
Máire Whelan has been appointed AG.

All in all this is an experienced and mature line up with a lot of heavy hitters. Ruairi Quinn, Joan Burton and Brendan Howlin have served in both FF/Lab and Rainbow coalitions in one capacity or another. Pat Rabbitte was a Minister for State in the Rainbow coalition. One surprise was the appointment of Brendan Howlin as Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform. It had been anticipated that Joan Burton would secure that portfolio. Phil Hogan, Richard Bruton, Jimmy Deenihan, Michael Noonan, and Enda Kenny have ministerial experience at either senior or junior level.

There is a logical restructuring of some ministries. Foreign Affairs and Trade certainly go hand and hand. The creation of Public Expenditure and Reform is long overdue and will dovetail nicely with Finance. Environment, Community and Local Government are certainly interlinked. Similarly the linking of Arts, Heritage and Gaeltacht Affairs makes sense as all are essentially cultural. Looking at Transport, Tourism and Sport it can be argued that sport is out of place. Nevertheless Transport and Tourism go hand and hand. The creation of a Minister for Children is long overdue.
Justice, Equality and Defence may raise some eyebrows. Alan Shatter will certainly have his work cut out for him.

Fergus O'Dowd, Charlie Flanagan, Brian Hayes, David Stanton amongst others will feel unlucky to have been omitted. But unfortunately for them FG has only ten cabinet positions. They will surely figure as Ministers for State
Similarly Roisin Shorthall and Jan O'Sullivan for Labour are likely to secure positions as Ministers for State.

Nine ministers come from Dublin constituencies so it is likely that geography will play some role in the allocation of junior ministries.
Two members of cabinet are women whilst the new attorney general is also a woman. This may also impinge on the selection of junior ministers.

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