Belfast Telegraph

First trip abroad for new Taoiseach

Enda Kenny will face his first international engagement as Taoiseach when he meets with European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso in Brussels.

The two leaders will discuss the key summits of the European Council and the Eurozone Heads of state.

The European Council meeting will consider the situation in Libya and the surrounding areas, while the Eurozone gathering will focus on economic co-ordination and related issues in the euro area.

Mr Kenny is expected to brief Mr Barroso on his new administration's priorities in office after he was formally appointed as Taoiseach on Wednesday.

The coalition government of centre right Fine Gael and centre-left Labour has agreed to push for better repayment terms for last December's 85 billion euro EU/IMF rescue package.

The Taoiseach unveiled his Cabinet in the Dail parliament with a number of new portfolios and the amalgamation of other ministries.

The new team held its first meeting on Wednesday night and agreed to cut the pay of senior politicians, with the Taoiseach's salary reduced from 214,187 euro to 200,000 euro.

The Tanaiste's pay will fall from 197,486 euro to 184,405 euro, while ministers will see their income drop to 169,275 euro.

Unveiling his Cabinet, Mr Kenny revealed Labour's Brendan Howlin will take on the newly-created role of Public Expenditure and Reform Minister. Mr Howlin, a veteran parliamentarian with past ministerial experience, will be charged with inflicting crushing austerity measures and axing 25,000 public jobs over the next two years.

The post was created with the splitting of the finance portfolio into two, with Fine Gael's Michael Noonan taking on the mantle of Finance Minister, with responsibility for budgets and taxes. Labour leader Eamon Gilmore becomes Tanaiste and was handed the new beefed-up Foreign Affairs and Trade portfolio.


From Belfast Telegraph