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The Government: Who are they?

On Friday Enda Kenny was re-elected as Taoiseach; thanks to a Supply and Confidence agreement with Fianna Fail, and a series of deals with Independent Deputies, Enda announced his new Government in the Dáil. So who who are they?

Taoiseach & Minister for Defence: Enda Kenny TD (Mayo), Fine Gael

Enda Kenny made history by being re-elected as Taoiseach, the first time a Fine Gael Taoiseach has managed this. Kenny has been a member of the Dáil since 1975 and has been leader of Fine Gael since 2002. He was elected Taoiseach in 2011.  He takes over the Defence brief from Simon Coveney, who had previously held that brief along with the Agricultural Ministry.

Tainiste & Minister for Justice and Equality: Frances Fitzgerald TD (Dublin Mid-West), Fine Gael

In a promotion for Deputy Fitzgerald, she has been appointed Tainiste (Deputy Prime Minister) alongside her Justice brief. She was re-elected to Dáil Eireann in 2011 and was appointed the first Minister for Children. She was moved to Justice and Equality in 2014 following the resignation of Alan Shatter.

Minister for Finance: Michael Noonan TD (Limerick City), Fine Gael

Michael Noonan is one of the most experienced Ministers in the Government, having served in every Fine Gael-led Government since 1982. He was first elected in 1981 and led the party prior to the 2002 General Election. He was appointed Minister for Finance in 2011 and has held the post since.

Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform: Paschal Donohue TD (Dublin Central), Fine Gael

Deputy Donohue was first elected the Dáil in 2011 having served as Senator from 2007. He was first appointed Minister of State for European Affairs following the resignation of Lucinda Creighton. He was then promoted to Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport in the re-shuffle in 2014. The move to Public Expenditure and Reform, taking over from Labour’s Brendan Howlin, will be seen as a promotion for the Minister.

Minister for Social Protection: Leo Varadkar TD (Dublin West), Fine Gael

Deputy Varadkar was first elected to the Dáil in 2007. In 2011 he was appointed as Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport. The 2014 re-shuffle saw him move to the Department of Health. He now takes over Social Protection from Labour Leader Joan Burton.

Minister for Health: Simon Harris TD (Wicklow), Fine Gael

Simon Harris was first elected to Dáil Eireann in 2011. He ran for the European Parliament in the Ireland South constituency in 2014, reaching the final count but wasn’t elected. Following Brian Hayes election to the European Parliament in that same election, Simon was appoint Minister of State at the Department of Finance with special responsibility for the Office of Public Works, Public Procurement and International Banking. He is being appointed to the Department of Health, taking over from Leo Varadkar. This is a departure from recent form, to appoint a non-doctor to this department, as the last two holders of this post have been Doctors.

Minister for Transport, Tourism & Sport: Shane Ross TD (Dublin Rathdown), Independent Alliance

Shane Ross served as a Senator from 1981 to 2011 on the University Panel. He was first elected to the Dáil in 2011 as an Independent. He was a member of the Public Accounts Committee in the 31st Dáil and now takes on his first Ministry. He takes over as Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport from Paschal Donohoe.

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine: Michael Creed TD (Cork North West), Fine Gael

Michael Creed was first elected to the Dáil in 1989. He held the seat until the 2002 general election. He was re-elected to the Dáil in 2007. This is his first Ministerial appointment having previously served as Party Spokesman for Agriculture from 2007 to 2010. He takes over from Simon Coveney.

Minister for Regional Development, Rural Affairs, Arts and the Gaeltacht: Heather Humphreys TD (Cavan-Monaghan), Fine Gael

Heather Humphreys was first elected to Dáil Eireann in 2011. In the 2014 re-shuffle she was appointed Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht. In this Dáil she will oversee an expanded Department with Regional Development and Rural Affairs being added to her remit.

Minister for Communications, Climate Change and National Resources: Denis Naughten TD (Roscommon-Galway), Independent

Denis Naughten was first elected to the Dáil in 1997 as a member of Fine Gael. He remained a member of Fine Gael until he resigned the party whip in 2011 following the downgrading of Roscommon Hospital. He was re-elected as an Independent TD in 2016. He takes over this re-named department which sees ‘Energy’ dropped from its remit but ‘Climate Change’ added. It is also reported the Irish Water will come under this department.

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs: Katerine Zappone TD (Dublin South-West), Independent

Katherine Zappone was first elected to the Dáil in 2016. She previously served as a member of Seanad Eireann following her nomination by An Taoiseach Enda Kenny. She is a first time Dáil Deputy and first time Government Minister. She is also the first Lesbian Government Minister in Ireland. She takes over the Department from James Reilly, who lost his seat at the General Election

Minister for Education and Skills: Richard Bruton TD (Dublin Bay North), Fine Gael

Richard Bruton was first elected to Dáil Eireann in 1982. He served as Deputy Leader of Fine Gael from 2002 to 2010 when he challenged Enda Kenny for the leadership. He was appointed Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation in 2011. He takes over the Department of Education and Skills from Labour’s Jan O’Sullivan.

Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government: Simon Coveney TD (Cork South Central), Fine Gael

Simon Coveney was first elected to Dáil Eireann at a By-Election in 1998. Simon served as Member of European Parliament from 2004 to 2007 for Ireland South. He was appointed Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine in 2011. The Department of Defence was added to his role in the 2014 reshuffle. This is a re-modelled department, taking many of the functions of the former Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government to place more emphasis on Housing and Planning.

Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade: Charles Flanagan TD (Laois), Fine Gael

Charlie Flanagan was first elected to Dáil Eireann in 1987. He lost that seat in the wipeout of 2002. He regained the seat in the following election in 2007. He has previously served as Chairman of the Fine Gael Parliamentary Party, and was initially appointed Minister for Children in May 2014. In July 2014 he was appointed Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade following the resignation of Eamonn Gilmore as leader of the Labour Party. He continues in this role in the new government

Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation: Mary Mitchell O’Connor (Dún Laoighaire), Fine Gael

Mary Mitchell O’Connor was elected to the Dáil in 2011. She joined Fine Gael in 2007 having been previously a member of the Progressive Democrats. This is her first government appointment and takes over the department from Richard Bruton who has moved to Education and Skills.

Minister of State with Special Responsibility for Defence: Paul Kehoe (Wexford), Fine Gael

Paul Kehoe was first elected to Dáil Eireann in 2002. He served as Government Chief Whip from 2011. He is now the Minister of State at the Department of Defence and will more than likely doing the lion’s share of the work as the Ministry rests with An Taoiseach Enda Kenny.

Minister of State with Special Responsibility for Disability Issues: Finian McGrath (Dublin North-Central), Independent

Finian McGrath was first elected to the Dáil in 2002, and served as Chair of the technical group of independent deputies from 2011. Although a Minister of State, Deputy McGrath holds the “Super Junior” position and shall attend Cabinet but cannot vote. This is his first ministry.

Chief Whip: Regina Doherty (Meath East), Fine Gael

Regina Doherty was first elected to Dáil Eireann in 2011. She was re-elected in 2016 and was appointed to the Dáil Reform Committee upon its formation. She was appointed Government Chief Whip in 2016 and takes over from Paul Kehoe. This will be an important job in the current Dáil as the Government do not have a majority, and a steady hand will be need to steer legislation through the house & negotiate with the whips.

Attorney General: Márie Whelan SC, Labour

Called to the bar in 1985 and appointed senior counsel in 2005, she was appointed Attorney General in 2011 as part of the Fine Gael- Labour Administration. She is a member of the Labour Party and has been re-appointed to the position by An Taoiseach Enda Kenny.


Stephen Spillane

30 year old Cork feen who should have left UCC years ago, but still writing for the Express. Has written for a number of websites including Spirituality Ireland and ESC Ireland. Interests include Politics, Religion and other things that shouldn't be spoken about in polite company.