New jobs for TDs and ministers in Leo Varadkar's cabinet in doubt

A series of high-profile Government ministers and TDs are set to be shunned by Leo Varadkar when he announces his new cabinet later today.

The incoming Taoiseach will formally replace outgoing leader Enda Kenny in a Dail vote this afternoon, officially beginning his long-awaited leadership of the party and country.

However, while Mr Varadkar's election is guaranteed due to the fact he will secure 58 votes and Fianna Fáil will abstain, new jobs for those who believe they are among his closest allies remain in doubt.

As reported in this morning's Irish Examiner front page, Simon Coveney is likely to fail in attempts to be made Tanaiste after he was announced as the party's new deputy leader last night.

It had been strongly hinted Mr Coveney was seeking the Tanaiste role.

However, it is being reported that he will not be given the position, and in addition will move from Housing to Foreign Affairs - a change Mr Coveney is believed to have sought but which is likely to leave him open to severe criticism he is walking away from a national emergency role.

The non-change at Tanaiste means crisis-hit Frances Fitzgerald is now expected to remain in the role, although she is still likely to move from the Department of Justice.

She will potentially be replaced by Richard Bruton, who is understood to be keen to instead move to an economic portfolio, leaving a role open in Education.

Mr Varadkar's campaign manager in the recent Fine Gael leadership election, Eoghan Murphy, has been widely tipped to become Jobs Minister in the reshuffled cabinet, a key promotion for the current junior finance minister.

However, he is instead now rumoured for a super junior minister role focusing on Brexit, an issue which has only been suggested in recent days.

While Mr Varadkar has said he will not make major changes to cabinet, there are clear questions over the future of current Foreign Affairs Minister Charlie Flanagan, current Jobs Minister Mary Mitchell O Connor, and others.

In addition, a series of junior ministers - including Regina Doherty, Helen McEntee, Dara Murphy and others - are vying to either remain in their roles or gain significant promotions.

While the cabinet reshuffle is seen by many as mere Dail drama, it is vital to the functioning of a Government.

This is because of the key role ministers hold, but also because a failure to promote influential party members or a decision to remove too many ministers risks creating powerful enemies to Mr Varadkar early in his new tenure.

See updates throughout the day at and from the Twitter feeds of the political team; political editor Daniel McConnell, and political correspondents Fiachra O Cionnaith, Juno McEnroe and Elaine Loughlin.


Ciara McDonnell talks to four high-profile people about their festive traditions and favourite tracksHere's what has these famous faces rockin’ around the Christmas tree

More From The Irish Examiner