Social Democrats unveil new roles for TDs

All six of the Social Democrats' TDs will take on numerous portfolios 
Social Democrats unveil new roles for TDs
Social Democrats TD Holly Cairns is among the party's Dail Deputies to be allocated new spokesperson roles. She will oversee the party's position on Agriculture and on Higher Education. Photo:Gareth Chaney/Collins

The Social Democrats have unveiled their new spokesperson roles, with each of their six TDs taking on numerous portfolios.

Co-leader Róisín Shortall is the spokesperson on Health as well as Finance and Public Expenditure and Reform, while fellow co-leader Catherine Murphy takes on Justice, plus Enterprise, Trade and Employment, and Transport and Sport.

The roles for the leaders will come as little surprise around Leinster House, with Ms Shorthall, considered the driving force behind Sláintecare, overseeing health, while Ms Murphy, who was a strong performer during the FAI scandal last year when officials appeared before the committee on sport, will stay in the portfolio.

Cian O’Callaghan is the spokesperson on Housing, as well as Foreign and European Affairs and Defence.

Jennifer Whitmore is the spokesperson on Climate; Communications Networks; Biodiversity; Children, Disability, Equality and Integration.

Dublin Central TD Gary Gannon is the spokesperson on Education; Social Protection; Media, Tourism, Arts, Culture and the Gaeltacht, while Holly Cairns, based in Cork South West, will oversee Agriculture, and Higher Education.

Ms Murphy said the new roles"certainly makes life easier" for the two leaders who had previously overseen all topics before having another four TDs elected in February.

"We're going to take will be a constructive opposition, and not afraid to ask the hard questions at the same time, and we'd be looking for in a very even recovery - not a repeat of what we've seen on the last occasion. So, that will be our objective to make sure that there's a fair and equal recovery," she added.

Ms Shorthall said that her party see the role of opposition as "critical in terms of modern democracy".

"In terms of the role of holding the government to account, certainly the last Dail, I think we played a very positive and constructive role in that.

"We made significant contributions in terms of the development of social care policy. 

"We also brought forward proposals which resulted in the improvements in parental leave, and also in relation to tenants' rights," she added.

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