Flanagan, Madigan among high-profile casualties of cabinet appointments

Around Leinster House on Saturday, there were three groups - those who got the call, those who didn't although they hoped they might, and those who entered the day with no expectation of a call at all.
Flanagan, Madigan among high-profile casualties of cabinet appointments
Josepha Madigan has lost her place in Cabinet
Josepha Madigan has lost her place in Cabinet

Around Leinster House on Saturday, there were three groups - those who got the call, those who didn't although they hoped they might, and those who entered the day with no expectation of a call at all.

In many ways, that third group was the happiest because they could enjoy the pomp and ceremony, such as it was.

But for those stuck in the middle, it was a tough weekend, with many failing to make the rank of minister and many more having the title stripped away.

As the outgoing Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar had the highest volume of difficult conversations. He broke the news early to Michael Ring and brought Michael Creed's time at cabinet to an end.

He also told big party names Charlie Flanagan and Josepha Madigan that they would not be in the final six Fine Gaelers to take seats at the cabinet. Joe McHugh's tenure in education was also ended.

But perhaps the biggest loser of all was Eoghan Murphy. The former housing minister had been a lightning rod for criticism of Mr Varadkar's government for some time but continued to go to bat for the party's policies. A longtime ally of Mr Varadkar, it now seems that he won't even be considered for a junior ministry.

As a party which had many frontbenchers and negotiators to find space for, Fianna Fáil had many people to reward and even more to disappoint.

The biggest loser was undoubtedly Dara Calleary. The party's deputy leader, Mr Calleary had put in huge work in the party's lowest days, traversing the country from his Mayo home to take on media appearances and help rebuild the party.

While as chief whip he will sit at cabinet, his new role will have all the demands of a ministerial portfolio but with none of the profile or ability to affect change.

Others who may feel aggrieved were Thomas Byrne and Anne Rabbitte, key negotiators and Jim O'Callaghan, a party heavyweight with a high profile.

Party leader Micheál Martin's choice of Stephen Donnelly to take the health role certainly raised eyebrows amongst a number of TDs and ensured a number of longtime loyalists were left out in the cold.

Green Party

The Green Party ended the programme negotiations with three clear choices for their cabinet seats, but the fate of their Super Junior position was up for debate.

Few however expected the nod to go to senator Pippa Hackett. Within the party, Brian Leddin was seen as a safe bet due to his geography and his ability. Certainly, the party's only other female TD, Neasa Hourigan might have thought Eamon Ryan would extend her an olive branch after her opposition to the deal.

Dublin Fingal TD Joe O'Brien had been tipped for Cabinet but missed out on both senior and junior roles.

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