There has been widespread surprise at the selection of Enda Kenny’s junior ministers with a number of high-profile TDs losing out.
Fine Gael members have questioned a number of the appointments and even some of those among the ministerial ranks have voiced surprise at the Taoiseach’s choices of ministers of state.
Although the Taoiseach handed out 15 junior positions this week, on top of the three previously announced, many constituencies didn’t get a look in and just four women have been appointed.
While Co Meath now has three junior ministers in chief whip Regina Doherty, Helen McEntee for mental health and Damien English for housing, other counties and constituencies have none.
Five-seaters like Dublin- Fingal, Carlow-Kilkenny, Louth, Kerry and Tipperary have been left without ministers.
For the first time there is no minister in Co Kerry despite Brendan Griffin being widely tipped for a position.
Instead, Limerick TD Patrick O’Donovan was selected as Minister of State for Tourism and Sport and Cork received two junior ministries in Dara Murphy and David Stanton.
“There will always be disappointments,” a source close to the Taoiseach said.
The source said a strong factor in his consideration was the fact that the people of Kerry had decided against re-electing the outgoing minister Jimmy Deenihan and instead “chose to go a different direction”.
During government formation negotiations it had been strongly tipped that Michael Healy-Rae would receive a post in return for his support with the source stating that it was “in touching” distance for the Independent.
However, Mr Healy-Rae’s decision to abstain in the final nomination for Taoiseach ruled him out.
Other well-established Fine Gael TDs who were thought to have been in the running for positions were John Paul Phelan, Fergus O’Dowd and Jim Daly.
In Waterford, John Deasy also missed out and remains on the government backbenches. His constituency colleague, Independent Alliance member John Halligan, who was given a junior ministry in the Department of Jobs admitted he was surprised by some of the appointments.
“There are areas where there isn’t a minister for state or a minister indeed and I think that many people will feel aggrieved in constituencies across the country that that is the case,” Mr Halligan said.
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved