Kenny to reveal new front bench

Kenny to reveal new front bench
Enda Kenny

Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny will today reveal his new front bench two weeks after seeing off a bitter leadership challenge.

All eyes will be on deposed deputy leader Richard Bruton to see if he is brought back into the fold after being demoted to the back bench for trying to overthrow Mr Kenny.

Others who came out firmly in the Bruton camp during the failed coup attempt - including Simon Coveney, Denis Naughten and Leo Varadkar – will be anxious to learn their fate.

Speculation suggested Mr Bruton would be asked to rejoin Mr Kenny’s front bench, but as enterprise and employment or education spokesman rather than within his old finance portfolio.

That key position is being widely tipped to go to former party leader Michael Noonan.

Mr Bruton, Mr Varadkar, Brian Hayes and Olivia Mitchell all signalled they would not serve again under Mr Kenny during the botched putsch.

But they were less defiant once the battle was decided.

Carlow-Kilkenny TD Phil Hogan, a central figure in Mr Kenny’s defeat of the party rebels, may be offered the deputy leadership.

Also thought to be in the running for that role are Dr James Reilly, who is expected to remain as health spokesman, and Dublin TD Alan Shatter, who may take over as justice spokesman from Charlie Flanagan.

Among those tipped for promotion are Clare TD Joe Carey, Cork East TD David Stanton, Sligo North Leitrim TD John Perry and Cork North Central TD Bernard Allen.

Mr Kenny will have no option but to bring some of the 11 frontbenchers who declared against him back in from the cold because of limited experience and expertise among his ranks.

Mr Bruton this week wrote on his website that Fine Gael must use all its talent regardless of which side they took in the challenge.

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