A day in the life of Ivor Callely, Minister of State at the Department of Health and Children.

There was a time when Irish Governments had fewer than six Ministers of State, or junior ministers. While there are now seventeen Ministers of State, many people still wonder what exactly it is they do and if they hold any real power?

To answer this question, political correspondent David McCullagh spends a day with Fianna Fáil TD and Minister of State at the Department of Health and Children with special responsibility for older people, Ivor Callely.

A typical week for Ivor Callely begins with constituency work in his Dublin North-Central office. His working day involves a variety of launches and meetings, and can often end as late as 11 pm. Ivor Callely calculates that he works for between 88 and 100 hours in a seven day week.

It does have an impact on your family life. It does have an impact on your social life.

While a Minister of State has no direct access to the Cabinet, Ivor Callely says a lot of authority and power comes with the position. He feels Ministers of Sate and Cabinet Ministers work well together, particularly on a number of Cabinet sub-committees.

A single Minister of State annually costs the taxpayer more than half a million euro, which Callely agrees is a lot of money. However he believes people value the hard work and commitment junior ministers give to their areas of responsibility.

An RTÉ News report broadcast on 2 December 2003. The reporter is David McCullagh.