Enda Kenny reveals new Cabinet

Wednesday 09 March 2011 22.55
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Mary McAleese & Enda Kenny - Ceremony at Áras an Uachtaráin
Mary McAleese & Enda Kenny - Ceremony at Áras an Uachtaráin
Cabinet - Names announced in the Dáil
Cabinet - Names announced in the Dáil
Enda Kenny - Elected in traditional walk-through vote
Enda Kenny - Elected in traditional walk-through vote
Seán Barrett - Dún Laoghaire TD has been elected to succeed Séamus Kirk
Seán Barrett - Dún Laoghaire TD has been elected to succeed Séamus Kirk

The new Cabinet has been holding its first meeting in Áras an Uachtaráin after ministers received their seals of office from President Mary McAleese tonight

Labour Party sources have confirmed there were disagreements about Cabinet positions before this afternoon's announcement of the new Government, which was delayed for half an hour.

As expected, Michael Noonan will be Minister for Finance, while Brendan Howlin will have responsibility for Public Expenditure & Reform.

Alan Shatter will be Minister for Justice, Equality & Defence, Joan Burton gets Social Protection, James Reilly will be Minister for Health and Frances Fitzgerald is the new Minister for Children.

Ruairi Quinn gets the Education & Skills portfolio, Richard Bruton will be Minister for Enterprise, Jobs & Innovation and Leo Varadkar will be Minister for Transport, Tourism & Sport.

Phil Hogan will be at Environment, Community & Local Government, while Jimmy Deenihan gets Arts, Heritage & Gaeltacht Affairs.

Pat Rabbitte will be Minister for Communications, Energy & Natural Resources, while Simon Coveney takes the Agriculture, Marine & Food portfolio.

Willie Penrose is 'super junior minister' at Environment with responsibility for housing and planning.

Paul Kehoe will be Government Chief Whip.

Ten of the 15 were either senior or junior ministers in the Rainbow Government of 1994.

The biggest losers on the Fine Gael benches are Michael Ring and Fergus O'Dowd, both widely tipped for Cabinet, while there has been criticism within Labour of the failure to put Joan Burton, the party's Finance Spokeserson for the past nine years, into an economic portfolio.

There was also surprise that prominent female Labour TDs like Roisín Shortall and Jan O'Sullivan were not promoted.

Labour sources confirmed there were disagreements before the announcement, but said it was Willie Penrose, who was made a ‘Super’ Junior Minister with a right to attend Cabinet, who had sought a full ministerial position.

Others disappointed by today's appointments may get a consolation prize when the junior ministers are announced in the coming days.

Kenny had 90-vote margin

At an Áras ceremony earlier, the Fine Gael leader was officially appointed Taoiseach by President Mary McAleese.

President McAleese signed the warrant of appointment of Taoiseach and presented Mr Kenny with his seal of office and a seal of Government.

Enda Kenny was elected Taoiseach by 117 votes to 27 during the first session of the 31st Dáil.

Fine Gael's Seán Barrett was elected as the new Ceann Comhairle.

In his first Dáil address as Taoiseach, Mr Kenny said the country was on the threshold of fundamental change.

He said he was entering into a covenant with the public and that honesty was his only policy.

'This is the darkest hour before the dawn.'