Belfast Telegraph

Coalition Government to be sworn in

The new coalition Government is set to be sworn in with Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny officially elected Taoiseach.

The make-up of the expected 15-strong Cabinet will be unveiled when Mr Kenny takes to his feet in the Dail chamber on Wednesday alongside coalition partners Labour led by Eamon Gilmore.

Centre-right Fine Gael and centre-left Labour signed-off on a programme for government on Sunday after almost a week of negotiations and hard-bargaining on policies.

The leaders have spent the last two days in meetings putting the finishing touches to the new front-bench, with Fine Gael expected to get 10 ministerial portfolios and Labour five.

The 31st Dail will kick-off at noon when the new Ceann Comhairle will be elected, followed by the appointment of the new Taoiseach and members of the Cabinet.

The Government will then travel to Aras an Uachtarain where President Mary McAleese will present them with their seals of office.

Fine Gael's Michael Noonan is widely expected to get the coveted finance portfolio, while Labour is tipped for the Attorney General post, giving the smaller party potentially six seats at the Cabinet table.

Other Fine Gael TDs tipped for a ministry include programme for government negotiators Phil Hogan and Alan Shatter, as well as Richard Bruton, Leo Varadkar, Sean Barrett, James Reilly, Simon Coveney and Jimmy Deenihan.

Labour hopefuls include former leaders Pat Rabbitte and Ruairi Quinn, Roisin Shortall and Brendan Howlin, with the party's current finance spokeswoman Joan Burton widely expected to get the new finance brief with responsibility for expenditure and public sector reform.

Mr Kenny will face his first official engagement on Friday when he travels to Brussels for an extraordinary European Council meeting, where he will meet with other heads of state.

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