No radical Cabinet changes expected

Enda Kenny and Joan Burton’s new cabinet is expected to be unveiled this morning after the Coalition leaders last night signed off on fresh policy agreements following four days of negotiations.

Despite suggestions in recent days of substantive changes to departments and ministers, the Fine Gael- Labour cabinet makeover may be more conservative than expected.

Little if no carving up of departments is expected and some ministers will remain in their posts.

But at least eight of the 15 cabinet posts will have been changed or swapped since the Coalition took power in 2011.

Labour was said to be content with the policy document deal last night, the broad thrust of which will include an emphasise on better living standards for people and the creation of jobs.

Ways to improve housing and address low pay will also feature in the deal.

The document will outline what the Coalition intends to do between now and the next general election.

Suggestions that Trade might come out of Foreign Affairs or that Community Care would be separated from Health were played down last night by the Tánaiste’s side.

“There’s no mad desire to carve up departments,” said a party source.

Mr Kenny is expected to phone ministers this morning and the new Cabinet may appear in the Dáil chamber by midday.

A debate is planned while ministers will also go to Áras an Uachtaráin for their seals of office.

Sources on both sides said the policies and the cabinet would be revealed today after protracted talks between Mr Kenny and Ms Burton.

“It dragged out on the small issues, but there was no fundamental ideological issues. It happened without much rancour,” said a senior Fine Gael source.

It remained unknown last night if Jobs Minister Richard Bruton would be moved, as speculated, with one government source saying they “wouldn’t see jobs changing hands”.

Certain exits from the cabinet are ministers Pat Rabbitte, Eamon Gilmore, and Phil Hogan. Arts Minister Jimmy Deenihan also looks set to be dropped.

Health Minister James Reilly may be moved to another post while Simon Coveney could remain in agriculture.

Observers suggested Labour junior ministers Alan Kelly and Kathleen Lynch and Alex White would be elevated to the cabinet.

Ms Burton yesterday told the Dáil that she had held “fruitful” talks with Mr Kenny.

The Taoiseach, speaking in Dublin yesterday evening, would not be drawn on the changes but said that the cabinet reshuffle was “the last of the issues that one would discuss”.

He said that the new cabinet would have to “work harder than any of their predecessors” and added: “We have a great deal of work to put in place and we look forward to that.”

There were suggestions last night that the announcement of the junior ministerial changes would be left until next week.


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