Aoife Moore: Fine Gael hold on to many important cabinet portfolios but have fewer seats than FF

Aoife Moore: Fine Gael hold on to many important cabinet portfolios but have fewer seats than FF
Eamon Ryan, Minister for Climate Action, Communication Networks and Transport, Leo Varadkar, Minster for Enterprise, Trade and Employment and Taoiseach Micheál Martin at the Convention Centre Dublin for the announcement of the members of the new Cabinet. Picture: Maxwells

Despite having fewer seats than Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael made an impressive showing in cabinet, holding on to some of the country's most important portfolios.

Former Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, will take the reins at the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment, as well as being Tanaiste. No time for a break for the former leader as the nation faces into an oncoming recession and will struggle to get thousands back to work.

No move for Cork native, Simon Coveney who will remain Minister of Foreign Affairs, but has gained a brief in Defence, which was formerly held by Leo Varadkar.

Paschal Donohoe will continue to hold the purse strings as Minister of Finance, and former Health Minister Simon Harris will head up the newly formed Department of Higher Education, Innovation and Science, which had initially been tipped as a Fianna Fáil role due to their enthusiasm for forming the new department during negotiations. Harris said after the appointment that serving as Health Minister had been "the greatest honour" and that was "excited" about his new role: "So much to do it and I approach it with enthusiasm and energy."

To the Department of Social Protection, Community and Rural Development and the Islands, heads Heather Humphreys, the former Business Minister.

However the shock appointment of the day from Leo Varadkar is former junior minister Helen McEntee to Justice.

McEntee, who had been lauded both at home and in Brussels for her performance during Brexit negotiations as Minister of State for European Affairs has seen her hard work pay off in what is arguably one of the most important ministries as the new government is formed.

Aoife Moore: Fine Gael hold on to many important cabinet portfolios but have fewer seats than FF
Paschal Donohoe, Fine Gael and Charlie Flanagan, Fine Gael leaving the Convention Centre. Picture: Maxwells
New challenges in security and policing, as well as a promise to end Direct Provision, will be high on her list of priorities. Many in the party regard her as "one to watch" with many believing she could likely lead the party in years to come.

Keen to right the wrongs of their gender balance, Leo Varadkar appointed four women to the Seanad, with former Minister for Social Protection Regina Doherty leading the upper house. A nod to her impressive work during the Covid19 pandemic through her ministry, despite losing her seat in February's election.

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