The three main losers from Leo Varadkar's cabinet reshuffle

Elaine Loughlin looks at those who will be disappointed with new Taoiseach Leo Varadkar’s picks.

Mary Mitchell O’Connor

Perhaps the biggest loser, Ms Mitchell O’Connor is the only senior minister to have been demoted to a super-junior role. She had been in the key Department of Jobs under Enda Kenny’s government and it is understood she was quite upset when she was informed of her demotion by Mr Varadkar yesterday afternoon.

While she will still be able to attend cabinet each week, she will work under Education Minister Richard Bruton after being given special responsibility for Higher Education.

Simon Coveney

While Mr Coveney has been moved from Housing to Foreign Affairs and will be given special responsibility for Brexit, he missed out on the powerful position of Tánaiste. It is understood that the Cork South Central TD had lobbied strongly to be appointed Tánaiste on a number of occasions in recent days but in the end Frances Fitzgerald retained the role.

John Paul Phelan

John Paul Phelan was a vocal back-bencher who out pressure on Enda Kenny and played a crucial role in drumming up support for Mr Varadkar during the leadership campaign. It had been widely expected that he would be rewarded with the much coveted role of Government chief whip. However, he remained empty-handed and on the backbenches as Mr Varadkar led his new Cabinet into the Dáil last night.

Others who may have be disappointed include Sean Kyne, Patrick O’Donovan and Pat Breen, three Ministers of State under Enda Kenny who had been tipped for promotion.

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