Leo Varadkar announces new Cabinet with some high profile changes

Leo Varadkar announces new Cabinet with some high profile changes

New Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has formally announced his new cabinet which, while remaining largely the same as Enda Kenny's, includes a series of high-profile changes at Ireland's top political table, writes Political Correspondent, Fiachra Γ“ Cionnaith.

In a statement to the DΓ‘il this evening, Mr Varadkar confirmed Frances Fitzgerald will remain as TΓ‘naiste but will be effectively demoted to the Jobs portfolio.

Beaten leadership contender Simon Coveney has been moved from Housing to Foreign Affairs, with a special responsibility for Brexit, while he will be replaced by new cabinet member Eoghan Murphy in his former portfolio.

The big winner is Paschal Donohoe, who is now among the strongest individuals in cabinet after being appointed to the Department of Finance in addition to his existing role as Public Expenditure Minister.


Charlie Flanagan will move from Foreign Affairs to Justice to take on one of the most crisis-hit roles in Government, while in another Simon Harris will remain in Health.

Michael Creed will also remain in his position as Agriculture Minister, as will Education Minister Richard Bruton - who was known to have coveted an economic briefing and be reluctant to move to Justice.

Former Government chief whip Regina Doherty will now head up the Department of Social Protection, with Heather Humphreys remaining in Arts, albeit with a re-vamped "Culture" Minister name.

Michael Ring has formally become a full cabinet member after being appointed to the new Rural Affairs portfolio.


Although all Independent ministers will remain in their roles, other changes include Joe McHugh who becomes Government chief whip in addition to his existing junior minister for the Gaeltacht role.

In addition, Mary Mitchell O'Connor has been demoted to a super junior minister role in Education.

While Mr Varadkar described his new cabinet as one which will get work done, it was only announced after an 80 minute delay, suggesting one or more ministers argued against taking up their now confirmed roles.

The full list of new position is as follows:


* Frances Fitzgerald - Tanaiste

* Seamus Woulfe - Proposed new attorney general


Department of Enterprise & Innovation to: Frances Fitzgerald

Department of Finance and Department of Public Expenditure & Reform to: Paschal Donohoe

Department of Education & Skills to: Richard Bruton

Department of Foreign Affairs & Trade to: Simon Coveney

Department of Justice & Equality to: Charles Flanagan

A new Department of Culture to: Heather Humphreys

Department of Health to: Simon Harris

Department of Agriculture, Food & the Marine to: Michael Creed

Department of Communications, Climate Action & Environment to: Denis Naughten

Department of the Transport, Tourism & Sport to: Shane Ross

Department of Children & Youth Affairs to: Katherine Zappone

A new Department of Community & Rural Affairs to: Michael Ring

Department of Employment & Social Protection to: Regina Doherty

Department of Housing, Planning & Local Government to: Eoghan Murphy


Joe McHugh - Government Chief Whip and Minister of State at the Department of Culture with responsibility for Gaeilge, Gaeltacht and the Islands

Paul Kehoe - Minister of State at the Department of the Taoiseach and the Department of Defence with special responsibility for Defence

Finian McGrath - Minister of State at the Department of Social Protection, the Department of Justice & Equality, and the Department of Health with special responsibility for Disability Issues

Mary Mitchell O'Connor - Minister of State at the Department of Education with special responsibility for Higher Education