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Leo Varadkar announces his Cabinet line-up for Irish government

By Kevin Doyle

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar’s Cabinet has just three new faces but includes a series of departmental changes.

In the biggest switches leadership rival Simon Coveney is moving to the Department of Foreign Affairs while Charlie Flanagan is to take over the embattled Department of Justice.

Mayo TD Michael Ring and Dublin Bay South TD Eoghan Murphy have been promoted from the junior ranks to Minister for Rural Affairs and Minister for Housing respectively.

Donegal TD Joe McHugh is the new Government Chief Whip and will also be Minister for the Gaeltacht.

Regina Doherty, the current chief whip,  is to become the new Minister for Social Protection, taking over from Mr Varadkar.

Frances Fitzgerald is to remain as Tánaiste and will move to the Department of Jobs and Enterprise, while Paschal Donohoe is to become Finance Minister.

Simon Harris has been reappointed as Health Minister, despite being the only Cabinet member to back Mr Coveney in the leadership battle.

Significantly Mr Varadkar only made demoted one minister, Mary Mitchell O’Connor, who is likely to become a super junior minister with responsibility for higher education. This means she can sit at the Cabinet table but no longer as voting rights.

Other junior minister who will sit at Cabinet are Paul Kehoe (Defence) and Finian McGrath (Disabilities).

Among the ministers staying in their current portfolios are Michael Creed (Agriculture), Richard Bruton (Education), Shane Ross (Transport), Katherine Zappone (Children) and Denis Naughten (Communications, Climate Change and Environment).

The Cabinet list is:

  • Taoiseach – Leo Varadkar
  • Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise – Frances Fitzgerald
  • Minister for Finance & Public Expenditure – Paschal Donohoe
  • Health – Simon Harris
  • Justice – Charlie Flanagan
  • Agriculture – Michael Creed
  • Education – Richard Bruton
  • Social Protection – Regina Doherty
  • Foreign Affairs – Simon Coveney
  • Housing – Eoghan Murphy
  • Rural Affairs – Michael Ring
  • Arts – Heather Humphreys
  • Transport – Shane Ross
  • Children – Katherine Zappone
  • Communications – Denis Naughten
  • Chief Whip & Minister for Gaeltacht – Joe McHugh

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