Martin criticised for not appointing more regionally balanced Cabinet

Martin criticised for not appointing more regionally balanced Cabinet
Newly elected Cabinet of the 33rd Dail. Picture: Julien Behal

Micheál Martin has been accused of abandoning parts of the country, by failing to appoint a more regionally balanced Cabinet of ministers.

The members of the Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and Green Party coalition received their seals of office last night.

The ink was barely dry on the warrant appointing him Taoiseach before Micheál Martin was coming under criticism for his cabinet appointees.

And not just for those in his party he did not give senior portfolios to - like Dara Calleary, Jim O'Callaghan, Thomas Byrne and Anne Rabbitte.

Seven members of the cabinet come from just three constituencies.

Cork South Central with Micheál Martin, Simon Coveney and Michael McGrath.

Leo Varadkar and Roderic O'Gorman in Dublin West and Stephen Donnelly and Simon Harris in Wicklow.

Factor in the other Dublin ministers and Helen McEntee in Meath East and nine of the 15 ministers are within a short drive of the M50.

There is no cabinet Minister for the south-east, the north-west or all of Connacht.

However Dara Calleary (Mayo) and Hildegarde Naughten (Galway West) will be present at the cabinet table as super junior ministers.

Much attention will now turn to the appointment of junior ministers as this coalition enters its first full day in power and the cabinet members start to get to grips with their new jobs.

The Taoiseach is to appoint 20 junior ministers in the coming days.

Labour Leader Alan Kelly says it is too many positions, particularly at a time when money is tight.

“I and some others here was a member of a government during very difficult times, where 15 junior ministers were appointed," he said.

“That was plenty. There were no ministerial advisers either.

“I don’t think the taxpayers of Ireland would appreciate, in this difficult time, such lavish and indulgent behaviour.

“And I’m sure when you reflect you’ll agree.”

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