Eamon Gilmore set for Foreign Affairs

Tuesday 08 March 2011 22.53
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Kenny & Gilmore - Discussions on make up of new Cabinet
Kenny & Gilmore - Discussions on make up of new Cabinet
Michael Healy-Rae - Will not be part of technical group
Michael Healy-Rae - Will not be part of technical group

As members of the 31st Dail prepare to meet tomorrow, it is understood that Labour leader Eamon Gilmore is to be appointed as the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs, with responsibility for Trade.

Mr Gilmore continued his discussions with Fine Gael Enda Kenny today on the formation of the incoming Government, which will have ten Fine Gael and five Labour cabinet members.

Changes will also see the breaking up of the Department of Community, Equality and Gaeltacht Affairs.

This will allow for the extra minister needed in order to have two cabinet members from Finance.

A junior minster - most likely Fine Gael TD for South West Dinny McGinley - will be in charge of the Gaeltacht portfolio.

There is also uncertainty about the future of the department of Arts, Sports and Tourism with speculation that Tourism may move to Transport.

And with far more contenders than positions in both parties - lobbying will continue right up until the Dáil sits at midday tomorrow.

16-member Technical Group formed

Agreement has been reached on the formation of a Technical Group involving 16 Independent and small party TDs.

Although the members of the group do not necessarily agree on policy, they will have greater access to speaking time in the Dáil once the group is formally recognised by the new Ceann Comhairle, after his or her election tomorrow.

The group will have three recognised speakers who will take turns to ask Leaders' Questions in the Dáil - Independent TDs Finian McGrath and Shane Ross, and Joe Higgins of the Socialist Party and United Left Alliance.

Only three Independents have declined to join the group - they are Michael Lowry, Noel Grealish and Michael Healy-Rae.

Outgoing Cabinet holds last meeting

The outgoing Cabinet held its final meeting at Government Buildings today, at which Ministers decided not to fill three vacant County Registrar posts and a number of judicial vacancies.

The seven remaining Cabinet members - the Taoiseach, the Tánaiste, and Ministers Brian Lenihan, Mary Hanafin, Pat Carey, Brendan Smith and Éamon Ó Cuív - attended the meeting.

Although only three are still TDs - Mr Lenihan, Mr Smith and Mr Ó Cuív - they all continue in their posts until the election of the new Government.

Meanwhile, the Cathaoirleach of the Seanad has announced the departure of 14 senators from the House following their election to the Dáil.

Pat Moylan also announced the appointment of former TD Darragh O'Brien to the Seanad by Taoiseach Brian Cowen to replace Ciarán Cannon, who is due to become a TD.