Outgoing Agriculture Minister Mary Couglan landed a major promotion tonight by being appointed Tánaiste and Enterprise, Trade and Employment Minister in Taoiseach Brian Cowen’s new-look Cabinet.
A close colleague of Mr Cowen’s, Tanaiste Mary Coughlan had seconded his nomination for Fianna Fáil party leader last month.
She is a former Social & Family Affairs Minister as a Minister of State in the Department of Arts, Culture and the Gaeltacht.
Her father Cathal Coughlan was a TD for the same constituency from 1983-1986. Her uncle Clem Coughlan was also a TD in the area from 1980-1983.
Outgoing Justice Minister Brian Lenihan – a close ally to Mr Cowen – has been appointed to the key Finance portfolio.
Outgoing Foreign Affairs Minister Dermot Ahern has moved to Justice, Equality & Law Reform while former Enterprise, Trade and Employment Minister Micheál Martin has moved to Foreign Affairs.
Mary Hanafin has been transferred from Education and Science to Social & Family Affairs while outgoing Minister of State Batt O’Keeffe has been promoted to Education and Science.
Social & Family Affairs Minister Martin Cullen has moved to Arts, Sport & Tourism after the retirement of its office holder Seamus Brennan.
All other senior Cabinet portfolios remain the same in the larger-than-expected reshuffle.
The new Tánaiste Ms Coughlan will carry out her first official duties when she represents the Government at the Order of Business in the Dáil tomorrow.
The popular mother-of-two is a former social worker and TD for Donegal South West since 1987.
The Taoiseach and his new Cabinet will tonight travel to the Aras an Uachtarain residence of President Mary McAleese to receive their seals of office.
Dun Laoghaire backbencher Barry Andrews has been promoted to the revamped Youth and Children portfolio while outgoing Minister of State Pat Carey has become the new Government Chief Whip.
Taoiseach Brian Cowen proposed the following Ministers and Ministers of State to the 31st Dáil :
Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment - Mary Coughlan
Minister for Finance - Brian Lenihan
Minister for Health and Children - Mary Harney
Minister for Transport - Noel Dempsey
Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform - Dermot Ahern
Minister for Foreign Affairs - Micheál Martin
Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism - Martin Cullen
Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs - Eamon Ó Cuiv
Minister for Social and Family Affairs - Mary Hanafin
Minister for Defence - Willie O'Dea
Minister for Environment, Heritage and Local Government - John Gormley
Minister for Communications, Energy And Natural Resources - Eamon Ryan
Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food - Brendan Smith
Minister for Education and Science - Batt O'Keeffe
The Taoiseach also proposed the following Ministers of State :
Government Chief Whip and Minister of State at the Departments of the Taoiseach and Defence - Pat Carey
Minister for Children and Youth Affairs - Barry Andrews
Minister for European Affairs - Dick Roche
Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food - Trevor Sargent