Details of the new Cabinet
Taoiseach Brian Cowen's speech in full

After Cabinet reshuffle

9.25pm: The two new Cabinet members - Tony Killeen and Pat Carey – received their seals of office this evening in Áras an Uachtaráin.

Also receiving new seals from the Presidential Commission in the absence of President Mary McAleese, were the four serving ministers who have switched departments.

6.25pm: After a three-hour debate, the Dail approved the Cabinet reshuffle by 83 votes to 75.

5.21pm: Fine Gael TD Leo Varadkar has told the Taoiseach that he was no Seán Lemass, no Jack Lynch, but he was like Dr Garret Fitzgerald, in tripling the national debt and effectively destroying the country.

Mr Vardakar suggested that the Taoiseach should enjoy writing boring articles in the Irish Times in a few years time - an apparent reference to Dr Fitzgerald.

5.08pm: The Irish Vocational Education Association (IVEA) said it will be seeking an early meeting with Mary Coughlan to put its very clear policy on the future role of VECs to her.

5.04pm: The TUI said it welcomed the reallocation of the training activities of FÁS to the renamed Department of Education and Skills.

5.02pm: The Irish Hotels Federation has welcomed the nomination of Mary Hanafin as Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism.

IHF President Paul Gallagher said: 'Given tourism's position as the country's largest indigenous employer, Minister Hanafin will play an important role in ensuring that national policies are focused on supporting and developing this vital industry.'

4.53pm: The Union of Students in Ireland has urged the new Minister for Education to ensure that the Student Support Bill is processed as a matter of urgency.

USI President, Peter Mannion, said: ‘We welcome the new Education Minister, but urge her to work closely with the USI to solve the problems associated with the meltdown in the student maintenance grant system.’

4.47pm: One of the first official functions of nominated Minister for Defence Tony Killeen would be on Easter Sunday when he attends the annual 1916 Commemoration at the GPO in Dublin.

Mr Killeen may travel to Kosovo early next month to mark a significant downsizing in the number of Irish peacekeepers serving in the Balkans.

The new Minister for Defence will also be advising the Government in the next few weeks about the possible withdrawal of 400 Irish troops from Chad.

4.09pm: Labour Party leader Eamon Gilmore has compared the new Cabinet line-up to a car that needs to be scrapped.

Eamon Gilmore

He said the Taoiseach had merely re-sprayed his rusting ‘97 registered model.

Deputy Gilmore said the reshuffle reflected the priority of the Government which was, he said, the survival of Fianna Fáil in office and not the survival of the country.

He singled Health Minister Mary Harney for mention who he said should have been removed from her department. He said the problems that have dogged the health service for years are still there.

4.07pm: Minister for the Environment John Gormley has told the Dáil that the emphasis is now on unemployment and that this is the biggest question to be faced.

John Gormley

John Gormley also said that TDs live in a bubble in Leinster House and that the public just want them to get on with the job in hand. But he said it was recognised abroad that Ireland is tackling its problems.

4.01pm: The Department of Arts, Sport and Tourism will become the Department of Tourism, Culture & Sport.

3.59pm: Speaking in the Dáil this afternoon, Sinn Féin Dáil Leader Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin said the Cabinet reshuffle announced by Brian cowen will not create one job for the unemployed.

Caoimhghín ó Caoláin

Deputy Ó Caoláin described the reshuffle as a sham and said the Government should 'be shuffling out of office with their heads held down in shame.'

He said that the reshuffle will only preserve the economic approach of the Government, which is fundamentally flawed.

He said their slash and burn policy will not lead to recovery but to deeper recession.

3.49pm: Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny has described the new Cabinet appointments as 'more of the same'.

Enda Kenny

He said the Taoiseach had missed the opportunity for radical change even though he had been given 'two portfolios on a plate'.

Deputy Kenny criticised the lack of restructuring in the departments. He said FÁS still remained across three different Government departments.

3.42pm: Announcing his changes to Government departments, Brian Cowen said he was not in favour of structural changes for their own sake and said the benefits the changes bring will outweigh the costs.

He also said he believes the worst is over and said the Government’s priorities are to bring about economic recovery, create jobs, and protect those who are unemployed.

Brian Cowen

3.41pm: Brian Cowen also announced the setting up of a Public Service Board, which aims to accelerate public service reform in consultation with the unions.

The junior minister Dara Calleary will also be assigned to push through change in the public service.

3.39pm: The Taoiseach announced structural changes to four departments.

The Department of Enterprise & Trade is now to become the Dept of Enterprise, Trade & Innovation.

The Dept of Education is to become the Dept of Education & Skills.

A Dept of Social Protection will take responsibility for FÁS.

Equality is to go into the Dept of Community and Gaeltacht affairs.

3.37pm: The Department of Community, Rural & Gaeltacht Affairs will become the Department of Community, Equality & Gaeltacht Affairs.

The Department of Social & Family Affairs will become the Department of Social Protection.

3.30pm: The Taoiseach has told the Dáil that he intends to appoint Fianna Fáil TD Sean Connick as Minister of State, as well as Green TDs Mary White and Ciarán Cuffe.


3.28pm: Mary Coughlan will remain as Tánaiste.

3.27pm: Pat Carey becomes Minister for Community, Rural & Gaeltacht Affairs, and Tony Killeen is the new Minister for Defence.

3.24pm: Following changes proposed by the Taoiseach: Mary Coughlan moves to Education, Éamon Ó Cuív moves to Social and Family Affairs, Mary Hanafin moves to Arts, Sport & Tourism and Batt O’Keeffe moves to Enterprise, Trade & Employment.

3.22pm: Pat Carey and Tony Killeen have been nominated to Cabinet.


3.04pm: The Dáil has adjourned until 3.15pm. The Taoiseach will then announce the members of the new Cabinet line-up.

3.03pm: Mr Cowen has to promote at least two new faces following the resignations of Willie O'Dea as Minister for Defence and Martin Cullen as Minister for Arts, Sport & Tourism.

There will also be some realignment of departmental responsibilities, and possibly some other transfers.

Any proposed new junior ministers will be formally appointed by the Government later this evening.

3pm: Watch a special programme on RTÉ One Television and RTÉ.ie/live on the Cabinet reshuffle now.

2.43pm: The Dáil is voting on a motion from the Taoiseach to have the House suspended until 3.15pm, at which time he will announce his Cabinet reshuffle.

FG's Enda Kenny has criticised the proposal, saying it is the height of arrogance for the Taoiseach to come into the House after a fortnight off and suspend normal business to announce the changes.

Labour's Eamon Gilmore said sufficient time has not been allotted for the Dáil to debate the new Government line up.

2.30pm: The Dáil returns from the week-long break for the St Patrick's Day festivities - the first item of business will be the Cabinet reshuffle.

1pm: Junior Ministers Tony Killeen and Pat Carey are strongly tipped for promotion in the Cabinet reshuffle.