Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin last night insisted it was “absolutely credible” to appoint 14 people who have never served in the Irish government to his new-look front bench.
Controversial former ministers such as Willie O'Dea and John McGuinness are returning to the front line of Fianna Fail, under the new line-up of 21 spokespeople.
Mr O'Dea was forced to resign as defence minister while Mr McGuinness was demoted to a junior minister under Brian Cowen's leadership of the party.
The six senior ministers and chief whip, who survived the recent botched reshuffle, have all retained senior positions.
He appointed six senior ministers, five junior ministers, six backbenchers, one senator, two councillors and one former local election candidate.
The three appointees who are not members of the Dail or Seanad are all Dublin-based.
Mr Martin said: “It's absolutely credible. This is a new way of doing politics.”