Cowen's Cabinet

Thursday 08 May 2008 10.27
Lenihan & Coughlan - New Cabinet announced
Lenihan & Coughlan - New Cabinet announced

In his first Cabinet, Brian Cowen revealed a few new faces and a number of changed responsibilities.

The Taoiseach named Mary Coughlan Tánaiste and Brian Lenihan as Minister for Finance.

Brendan Smith, Batt O'Keefe and Pat Carey were also notable additions to the Cabinet table.

Mr Carey is the new Chief Whip, a move which sees Tom Kitt return to the back benches.

Brian Cowen's Cabinet in full:

Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment
Mary Coughlan

In 1987, Mary Coughlan was the youngest TD in the history of the State. She now becomes Tánaiste in perhaps the biggest surprise of the Cabinet reshuffle. She will also serve as Minister for Enterprise Trade and Employment.

 

Minister for Finance
Brian Lenihan
 

Brian Lenihan first entered the Dáil aged 37 after the death of his father in 1996. Elevated to the position of Minister for Justice following the 2007 General Election, he now moves to the important role of Minister for Finance.

 

Minister for Justice
Dermot Ahern

Dermot Ahern's appointment as Minister for Justice sees him in his fourth senior Cabinet position. The former solicitor from Dundalk has been a member of the Dail for the last 20 years. Much of his time in Foreign Affairs has been centred on the Northern Ireland peace process.

 

Government Chief Whip
Pat Carey

Pat Carey was first elected to the Dail in 1997, winning a second seat for Fianna Fail in the constituency. Often tipped for promotion, Bertie Ahern's departure made room for another Dublin TD at the Cabinet table. His elevation to Chief Whip will be welcomed by backbench colleagues.

 
Minister for Agriculture and Food
Brendan Smith

First elected in 1992, Brendan Smith was appointed Minister of State at the Department of Children following the 2007 General Election. The Cavan-born TD spent 15 years as an advisor to former Tánaiste John Wilson. He now takes over from Mary Coughlan at the Department of Agriculture.

Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism
Martin Cullen

A former Mayor of Waterford, Martin Cullen has previously held three front bench positions, most notably in Transport. Once a member of the Progressive Democrats, he was first elected in 1987. He joined Fianna Fáil after becoming disillusioned with the leadership of Mary Harney.

Minister for Social and Family Affairs
Mary Hanafin

Mary Hanafin has been appointed Minister for Social & Family Affairs. She takes over the portfolio from Martin Cullen. The Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown TD and daughter of Fianna Fáil Senator Des Hanafin was previously Minister for Education & Science and before that Government Chief Whip.


Minister for Education and Science
Batt O'Keefe

Cork TD Batt O’Keefe has been handed the role of Minister for Education & Science in Brian Cowen’s new Cabinet. He succeeds Mary Hanafin. Last year the former Cork University lecturer was appointed by Bertie Ahern as Minister for Housing and Urban Renewal.

 

Minister for Foreign Affairs
Mícheál Martin

The former Minister for Enterprise, Trade & Employment has been appointed as Minister for Foreign Affairs. Before entering a career in politics, Micheál Martin briefly worked as a secondary school teacher. He has also been a minister for Education and for Health.

 

Minister for Transport
Noel Dempsey

Noel Dempsey will continue to serve as Minister for Transport in Brian Cowen’s new Cabinet. He has held the role since 2007. He has previously spent time at the departments of Environment & Local Govt, Education & Science, and Communications, Marine & Natural Resources.

Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs
Éamon Ó Cuív

Galway TD Éamon Ó Cuív will remain as Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs . The fluent Irish speaker and grandson of Eamon De Valera was formerly a member of Seanad Éireann.

 

Minister for Defence
Willie O'Dea
Brian Cowen has left Limerick-East TD Willie O’Dea as Minister for Defence. Mr O’Dea has held the role since 2004. Prior to defence, Mr O’Dea served as Minister of State at Department of Justice, Equality & Law Reform with special responsibility for Equality Issues.

 
Minister for Health
Mary Harney

The founding member of the Progressive Democrats retains her role as Minister for Health and Children. The Dublin Mid West TD began political life in the Seanad, and at 24 was the youngest ever Senator. She remains the longest-ever serving female member of Dáil Éireann.


Minister for Environment, Heritage and Local Government
John Gormley

John Gormley will continue to serve as Minister for Environment, Heritage & Local Government. The Green Party leader and Dublin South-East TD was appointed to the position after forming a coalition with Fianna Fáil and the PDs following last year’s General Election.

 

Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources
Eamon Ryan

Dublin South TD Eamon Ryan will continue as Minister for Communications, Energy & Natural Resources in Brian Cowen’s new Cabinet. Mr Ryan has held the role since 2007 when he was appointed by then Taoiseach Bertie Ahern.