Taoiseach’s Seanad Nominees announced

Seanad_Alan-BetsonThis evening the Taoiseach’s 11 nominees to Seanad Eireann were announced. They are as follows:

  • Paudie Coffey (former Senator, Dáil Deputy and Minister of State)
  • Joan Freeman (Founder of Pieta House)
  • Michelle Mulherin (former Dáil Deputy)
  • Ray Butler (former Dáil Deputy)
  • Frank Feighan (former Senator and Dáil Deputy)
  • John O’Mahony (former Dáil Deputy)
  • Dr James Reilly (Former TD and Minister)
  • Billy Lawless (advocate for Irish immigrants in the U.S.)
  • Colette Kelleher (CEO Alzheimers Ireland)
  • Pádraig Ó Céidigh (Businessman)
  • Marie-Louise O’Donnell (Former Senator)

Joan Freeman, Colette Kelleher and Pádraig Ó Céidigh were all nominated by the request of Fianna Fail.

One are that has been completely overlooked is that now Tipperary is the only county in Ireland which does not have a Fine Gael national representative. This will make it hard for Fine Gael to regain a seat in this constituency.

The first meeting of the new Seanad will take place on Wednesday 8 June at 3pm.

Ministers of State Announced

ministersofstate2016Today an Taoiseach Enda Kenny announced the appointments of Junior Ministers which were agreed at Cabinet today. They are as follows

  • Minister of State for European Affairs, Data Protection and the E.U. Single Digital Market– Dara Murphy, Cork North Central, (Departments of the Taoiseach, Foreign Affairs and Trade, and Justice and Equality)
  • Minister of State for Financial Services, eGovernment and Public Procurement – Eoghan Murphy, Dublin Bay South, (Departments of Finance, and Public Expenditure and Reform)
  • Minister of State for Tourism and Sport – Patrick O’Donovan, Limerick County, (Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport)
  • Minister of State for Housing and Urban Renewal – Damien English, Meath West, (Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government)
    5. Minister of State for Gaeltacht Affairs and Natural Resources – Sean Kyne, Galway West, (Departments of Regional Development, Rural Affairs, Arts and the Gaeltacht, and Climate Change, Communications and Natural Resources)
  • Minister of State for Food, Forestry and Horticulture – Andrew Doyle, Wicklow, (Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine)
  • Minister of State for Employment and Small Business– Pat Breen, Clare, (Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation)
  • Minister of State for Training and Skills – John Halligan, Waterford, (Departments of Education, and Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation)
  • Minister of State for Mental Health and Older People – Helen McEntee, Meath East, (Department of Health)
  • Minister of State for Health Promotion – Marcella Corcoran Kennedy, Offaly, (Department of Health)
  • Minister of State for the Office of Public Works and Flood Relief– Sean Canney, Galway East, (Department of Public Expenditure and Reform)
  • Minister of State for the Diaspora and Overseas Development Aid – Joe McHugh, Donegal (Departments of the Taoiseach, and Foreign Affairs and Trade)
  • Regional Economic Development – Michael Ring, Mayo, (Department of Regional Development, Rural Affairs, Arts and the Gaeltacht)
  • Minister of State for Communities and the National Drugs Strategy– Catherine Byrne, Dublin South-Central, (Health, and Regional Development, Rural Affairs, Arts and the Gaeltacht)
  • Minister of State for Justice with special responsibility for Equality, Immigration, and Integration – David Stanton, Cork East, (Department of Justice and Equality)

    These appointments are in addition to the three Ministers of State who were appointed when the Government was formed – Regina Doherty, Finian McGrath and Paul Kehoe.

The total number of Junior Ministers now stand at 18. Of those 3 are Independent TDs (Finian McGrath, John Halligan and Sean Canney) and the other 15 are members of Fine Gael.

New Irish Government Nominated

newgov2This evening in the Dáil following Enda Kenny’s re-election as Taoiseach. The following have been nominated as members of the Governments for the 32nd Dáil.

  • Taoiseach & Minister for Defence: Enda Kenny (FG)
  • Chief Whip: Regina Doherty (FG)
  • Tainiste & Minister for Justice and Equality: Francis Fitzgerald (FG)
  • Minister for Finance: Michael Noonan (FG)
  • Minister for Public expenditure and Reform: Paschal Donohue (FG)
  • Minister for Social Protection: Leo Varadkar (FG)
  • Minister for Health: Simon Harris (FG)
  • Minister for Transport, Tourism & Sport: Shane Ross (Ind)
  • Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine: Michael Creed (FG)
  • Minister for Regional Development, Rural Affairs, Arts and the Gaeltacht: Heather Humphreys
  • Minister for Communications, Climate Change and National Resources: Denis Naughton (Ind)
  • Minister for Children and Youth Affairs: Katerine Zappone (Ind)
  • Minister for Education and Skills: Richard Bruton (FG)
  • Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government: Simon Coveney (FG)
  • Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade: Charles Flanagan (FG)
  • Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation: Mary Mitchell O’Connor (FG)
  • Minister of State with Special Responsibility for Defence: Paul Kehoe (FG)
  • Super Junior Minister who will attend Cabinet and have special responsibility for disability: Finian McGrath (Ind)
  • Attorney General: Maria Whelan SC

New Cabinet: Who’s Up? Who’s Down? Who hasn’t Moved?

Yesterday I posted about the two free poistions on Cabinet, well none of the Junior Ministers I mentioned moved up. Tom Kitt did move back to the backbenches though! Typical, I mention a prediction on this site and the opposite happens!

The new Ministers are Batt O’Keefe, TD for Cork South West, who becomes Minister for Education, he previously served as Minister for Housing and Urban Renewal. The other is Brendan Smith TD for Cavan-Monaghan, who becomes Agriculture Minister having been Minister of State at the Department of Children since 2007.

Mary Coughlan moves from Agriculture to Enterprise, Trade and Emplyoment as well as becoming Tánaiste. She is seen as a key Biffo ally. She is the second female Tánaiste in the history of the state. The first being Mary Harney who in 1997 held these two exact posts in cabinet.

Brian Lenihan becomes Finance Minister, arguably the most powerful post in the land. He was previously the MInister for Justice. Another Biffo ally. Recently brough up to full cabinet after the last General Election, he was previously the ‘super’ junior Minister for Children. A promotion was in offing, it was down between him and Coughlan for this post with Martin being an outside bet

Dermot Ahern moves from Foreign Affairs to Justice. This is an interesting move, but I dont think we will see Civil Unions any faster under this Ahern. He proved to be an excellent Foreign Affairs Minister, but Justice should be an interesting challenge for the Soliciter.

Martin Cullen gets Arts, Sport & Tourism have previously serving as Social & Family Affairs. Cullen is a former PD’er, and has served in a number of cabinet positions since 1997.

Mary Hanafin moves from Education to Social & Family Affairs. Hanafin got a lot of stick for not supporting ABA education for children with Autism, will she do better here?

Mícheál Martin moves from Enterprise to Foreign Affairs. Another surprise move for the Minister most remembered for the Smoking ban. An interesting poistion, the question is wil the foreign diplomats understand his Cork accent when he gets annoyed.

Pat Carey becomes government chief whip, this is a promotion from the back benches. He was serving as Minister of State at the Department of Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs (with special responsibility for Drugs Strategy and Community Affairs).

Noel Dempsey (Transport), Éamon Ó Cuív (Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs), Willie O’Dea (Defence), Mary Harney (Health), John Gormley (Environment, Heritage & Local Government) and Eamon Ryan (Communications, Energy & Natural Resources ) all stay in situ. Which is a pity has Harney should have gone.

So what do ye think of the new cabinet?

Two Free Places on The Cabinet, But Who Will Get The Nod?

This first appeared on the Political Gay blog over on GayCork

So Seamus Brennan has told BIFFO that he will not serve in the next Cabinet due to illness. So who will get the nod from Cowen?

The odds are on one of the Junior Ministers in my opinon.

So who could come up?

Conor Lenihan, yes he is related to Brian, he could be brought up to the cabinet, he is currently Minister of State at the Department of Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs, the Department of Education and Science and the Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform (with special responsibility for Integration Policy). He is a noted politician on the rise, but the “kebab” comment could hold him back.

Seán Haughey could also get in. He is curently Minister of State at the Department of Education and Science and the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment (with special responsibility for Lifelong Learning, Youth Work and School Transport). He is Charlie’s son, so that could be a hinderance and I think BIFFO will want a break from people associated with corruption, even it is was his father.

Dick Roche, who is currently Minister of State at the Department of Foreign Affairs (with special responsibility for European Affairs), could be re-appointed to the Cabinet. He was Minister for the Environment, Heritage & Local Government, but his last act as Minister there, allowing the work to go ahead at Tara, might hold him back.

Tom Kitt, the Government Chief Whip, Minister of State at the Department of the Taoiseach and Minister of State at the Department of Defence, could also get the nod. He obviously was involved in getting Beverly back in party and returning Ned O’Keeffe to the party.

Of course BIFFO might ignore these completely and pick someone from the Back Benches.

I dont see the Greens moving anywhere, and Harney for the good of the PD’s should go but I doubt she will.

I will hopefully post tonight on the new cabinet. Otherwise you will have to wait till tomorrow!

The Next Taoiseach of Ireland: Brian Cowen

Based on a post I orginally posted on The Political Gay over on GayCork

Tomorrow Brian Cowen will be elected Taoiseach of Ireland. The Big question will be the result of the reshuffle? Will Harney be replaced by Cannon? Who will get Finance? Who will be dropped and who will be promoted.

I have a feeling Lenihan will get Finance and Tániste. If that happens I think Coughlan could move to Justice. The poison chalice is the big Question though, if Hareny leaves Health who will take over? Cannon won’t want it, if he has any sense. It will be interesting to have an Governemnt Minister in the Seanad though! It will increase its poistion within the political system.

Another question is will he drop any policies? will he try and renegiate the Programme for Government? I doubt on both of these. No Irish Government policy has major opposition in public opinion like 42 days and ID’s in the UK. Of course the first month will be taken up with Lisbon, but that could be the waste of the Honeymoon period also.

What I want to know is will we see Civil Partnerships (Unions or whatever) under Cowen? Ahern was great on rhetoric but will Cowen take the action?

Random Facts:
He was born 10 January 1960 and was first elected in 1984 to represent constituency of Laois-Offaly. He has served in the following Ministries: Minister for Labour (1992–1993), Minister for Energy (1993), Minister for Transport, Energy & Communications (1993–1994), Minister for Health & Children (1997–2000), Minister for Foreign Affairs (2000–2004) and until tomorrow Minister of Finance.

He has wide ranging expeirence in a number of portfolios so has the potential to be a good Taoiseach.

The question is will he face the same problems has Gordon Brown? He is taking over from a popular Taoiseach, granted he has been dogged lately by the Tribunal, but he is popular in Ireland none the less.

He was not leader of the Party when elected. This isnt as big an issue as in the UK considering when we go to the polls you can vote for every party, as is the way with PRSTV. While in the UK you vote for one and thats the leader you expect. I dont see accusations of being ‘unelected’ being bandied about as much as they are with Brown.

Time will tell if he ‘dithers’ like Gordon. I dount he will though.

Of course he will always be BIFFO* to me dispite the fact he is Taoiseach!

*Note: I take BIFFO to mean “Big Ignorant F***er From Offaly” not “Big Intelligent Fellow From Offaly”

The Next Cabinet

I found this on diarmydotnet via PoliticsinIreland. It is an interesting post on what the cabinet could like like after May 6th. I have reproduced it below.

Taoiseach: Brian Cowen
Tánaiste: Brian Lenihan

Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries & Food: Billy Kelliher
Minister for Arts, Sports & Tourism: Trevor Sargent (Greens)
Minister for Communications & Technology: Conor Lenihan (New Portfolio)
Minister for Community, Rural & Gaeltacht Affairs: Eamon Ó Cuív
Minister for Defence: Willie O’Dea
Minister for Education & Science: Mary Hanifin
Minister for Energy & Natural Resources: Eamonn Ryan (Greens)
Minister for Enterprise, Trade & Employment: Micheál Martin
Minister for the Environment & Local Government: John Gormley (Greens)
Minister for Finance: Brian Lenihan
Minister for Foreign Affairs: Dermot Ahern
Minister for Heritage & Culture: Seán Haughey (New Potfolio)
Minister for Health & Children: Dr. James Reilly (Poached from Fine Gael)
Minister for Justice, Equality & Law Reform: Mary Couglan
Minister for Social & Family Affairs: Pat ‘The Cope’ Gallagher
Minister for Transport & the Marine: Noel Dempsey

I agree with Diarmy that Séamus Brennan, Mary Harney and Martin Cullen will all lose their cabinet poistions, but may get Junior Postings. I very much doubt the Dr Reilly will cross the floor to take up health, so someone else will have to take the poision chalice. One other issue is the number of Portfolio’s the constitution states thats “The Government shall consist of not less than seven and not more than fifteen members” Article 28.1, this Cabinet has 16 excluding the Taoisheach.

Notes on the the formation of the Government of the 30th Dáil

An Taoiseach: Bertie Ahern, Fianna Fail, Dublin Central.
There was no surprises when he was elected Taoiseach with a comfortable majority, 89 votes to 76. He stays on but more importantly as anointed his successor.

An Tánaiste and Minister for Finance: Brain Cowen, Fianna Fail, Laois-Offaly.
Cowen continues on in the important ministry and definitely is now seen as Bertie’s replacement. If the economy does suffer, the problems will fall at his door though. Stamp Duty reform will be a major project here.

Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries & Food: Mary Coughlan, Fianna Fail, Donegal South West.
Coughlan stays where she is but also now has to represent fisheries. This will be important as the fisheries industry here is not getting a good deal here in Europe. Maybe with her experience with fighting for farmers she can do the same for our fishermen.

Minister for Arts, Sport & Tourism: Séamus Brennan, Fianna Fail, Dublin South.
Brennan takes a diagonal (downwards) from Social Welfare minister to this portfolio. Not the most exciting one! Though it could be interesting with the Olympics next year.

Minister for Communications, Energy & Natural Resources: Eamon Ryan, Green Party, Dublin South.
The first new face in this cabinet, holding quite an interesting portfolio. Damien seams happy with his appointment. This protfolio has also changed its name, marine is gone (cant have the greens in charge of that!!! ) and energy is in the title, first time we’ve had a ministry with that, and its great a green minister is in charge of it!

Minister for Community, Rural & Gaeltacht Affairs: Éamon Ó Cuív, FF, Galway West.
Ó Cuív stays in this post, which I have major problems with, not least the naming of Dingle/Daingean Uí Chúis.

Minister for Defence: Willie O’Dea, FF, Limerick East.
O’Dea stays here, Battle groups still a bit of an issue here, are we in or out???

Minister for Education & Science: Mary Hanafin, FF, Dún Laoghaire.
Hanafin stays at this post where LC reform and third level funding remain big issues.

Minister for Enterprise, Trade & Employment: Micheál Martin, FF, Cork South Central.
The only Cork minister, stays where he is. Encouraging employment and investment huge issues here.

Minister for the Environment, Heritage & Local Government: John Gormley, GP, Dublin South East.
Another new face at the cabinet table! Gormley is left with a major headache over the M3 though! An independent Electoral Commission is promised 😀 delighted along with reform of Local Government.

Minister for Foreign Affairs: Dermot Ahern, FF, Louth. Ahern stays here at Foreign Affairs where he has been a good minister, reaching ODA promises is the trick here.

Minister for Health & Children: Mary Harney, PD, Dublin Mid West.
Harney is the only PD left at the cabinet table and stays at Health. Her tenure will be shaky as she has Nurses, Consultants and Co-location to deal with.

Minister for Justice, Equality & Law Reform: Brian Lenihan Jnr, FF, Dublin West.
A promotion for Lenihan from the position of Minister of State (with special responsibility for Children). This will be a challenging portfolio to Lenihan, whos father previously held the post. Hopefully he will be a different sort of minister then McDowell and we can look forward to Civil Partnerships coming from his department.

Minister for Social & Family Affairs: Martin Cullen, FF, Waterford.
Cullen has been moved from Transport to Social Welfare. Social Welfare can be a bit of a poison chalice, if cuts have to implemented as it hurts the least well-off.

Minister for Transport & the Marine: Noel Dempsey, FF, Meath West.
Dempsey moves from communications to Transport which also gains responsibly for the Marine. This makes perfect sense as an Island nation, a lot of our transport links are by sea.

Well that is all the Ministers, John O’Donoghue beat Ruari Quinn in a vote for Ceann Comhairle. Paul Gallagher SC has been appointed Attorney General.

Edit: The Programme for Government is availible here (PDF)