Gender, age, and loyalty all play their part in new junior ministerial appointments

Enda Kenny’s junior ministerial appointments included all the elements of why some TDs are promoted or indeed overlooked, including factors such as geography, gender, age, and loyalty.

The rise in the number of positions from 15 to 18 will raise questions though, especially given that Fine Gael is in a minority government.

Furthermore, some areas of the country have been left without a minister and a number of TDs, previously critical of Mr Kenny, were left out in the cold.

Nevertheless, the reshuffle of sorts will give aspirational TDs an opportunity to shine, with 11 of those appointed first-time ministers.

Spreading appointments around the country is a challenge and would have been to the forefront of Mr Kenny’s mind, especially with an eye on the next election.

Voters in Galway West will be happy with Sean Kyne’s appointment as Gaeltacht minister, after his role in the government formation talks.

Furthermore, Pat Breen’s post as junior jobs minister will be good for Clare. He voted against Mr Kenny in the failed 2010 coup so maybe all is now forgiven.

In Limerick county, party loyalist Patrick O’Donovan will now be in charge of the junior ministry for sports and tourism, a role many TDs have a green eye for.

But elsewhere, some eyebrows will be raised by Mr Kenny’s decisions.

Gender, age, and loyalty all play their part in new junior ministerial appointments

Notably, half of the 18 TDs given junior roles are in the Leinster area.

Damien English was deservedly reappointed as minister, while Helen McEntee was promoted to oversee mental health. But the appointments mean that the three sitting Fine Gael TDs in Meath East, including Government chief whip Regina Doherty, are now ministers. This will annoy the party’s TDs in other counties.

Furthermore, Kerry is now left without a minister after young Brendan Griffin was overlooked.

Equally, Waterford will have no Fine Gael TD after Mr Kenny appointed only Independent TD John Halligan as a minister there, leaving rebel party TD John Deasy on the backbenches.

Fergus O’Dowd, the Louth TD dropped as a minister during the last government, was also overlooked despite the fact he and a running mate took seats in the constituency in the election.

There was also some criticism that just three of the non-Cabinet junior appointments went to women,

The biggest promotion overall was for young Dublin Bay South TD Eoghan Murphy, who moves from the backbenches into the Department of Finance.


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