Taoiseach appoints four Ministers of State to Department of Health

Independents Sean Canney and John Halligan are among the 15 new junior ministers announced by Enda Kenny

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Image: Paraic Gallagher

The Taoiseach has announced 15 Ministers of State, bringing the total number of junior ministers to 18.

Enda promoted nine Fine Gael faces to the ranks of junior minister, and none are first timers in the party.

He told the Dáil that the Government decided to expand the number of Ministers of State by three.

He said the decision will "put a stronger emphasis on important policy areas, particularly on the Department of Health, to which four Ministers of State will be attached".

The winning constituencies are Clare, Dublin South Central, Offaly, Wicklow, Galway West, Dublin Bay South, Meath East, Limerick County and Cork East.

Independent TD John Halligan of Waterford and newly elected Independent for Galway East Seán Canney also got call-ups.

The four outgoing Fine Gael junior ministers - representing Mayo, Donegal, Cork North Central and Meath West - were also appointed.

With the Chief Whip and two super juniors already appointed, Wexford, Dublin Bay North and Meath East were already represented.

However, large parts of the country have been left with no ministerial representation at all.

Five-seaters like Dublin Fingal, Carlow Kilkenny, Louth, Kerry and Tipperary have been left without Ministers, alongside constituencies like both Kildare North and South, Sligo Leitrim, Longford Westmeath, and Dublin North West.

In total, Fine Gael now has 27 Ministers and 23 backbenchers.

The appointments have received a mixed response, with Sinn Féin's Gerry Adams suggesting it marks "a return to the excesses of Bertie Ahern-era Ministerial numbers".

However, he welcomed the appointment of a junior minister for Disability and a junior minister for Mental Health and Older People.

Both Deputy Adams and Joan Burton criticised the Government's failure to appoint a dedicated Arts Minister.

ALONE CEO Sean Moynihan said the charity welcomes "the appointment of a Minister of State with responsibility for Older People but we are disappointed that a cabinet-level minister has not been given responsibility for our Ageing Demographic".

Meanwhile, Dóchas - the Irish Association of Non-Governmental Development Organisations - said the appointment of Joe McHugh as a junior minister with responsibility for Overseas Development Aid "reinforces the Government’s commitment to development and overseas aid".

You can see a full list of the newly announced Ministers of State below: 

  • Pat Breen (Clare, FG) - Employment and Small Business
  • Catherine Byrne (Dublin South Central, FG) - Communities and National Drugs Strategy
  • Marcella Corcoran Kennedy (Offaly, FG) - Health Promotion
  • Andrew Doyle (Wicklow, FG) - Agriculture (Food and Forestry) 
  • Damien English (Meath West, FG) - Housing and Urban Renewal
  • Sean Kyne (Galway West, FG) - Gaeltacht Affairs and Natural Resources
  • Dara Murphy (Cork North Central, FG) - EU Affairs and Data Protection
  • Eoghan Murphy (Dublin Bay South, FG) - Finance 
  • Helen McEntee (Meath East, FG) - Mental Health and Older People
  • Joe McHugh (Donegal, FG) - Diaspora and Overseas Development Aid
  • Patrick O'Donovan (Limerick, FG) - Tourism and Sport
  • Michael Ring (Mayo, FG) - Rural Economic Development
  • David Stanton (Cork East, FG) - Justice, equality and integration
  • Sean Canney (Galway East, Ind) - OPW and Flood Relief
  • John Halligan (Waterford, Ind) - Training and Skills

Paul Kehoe and Finian McGrath had already been announced as Ministers of State, as well as Chief Whip Regina Doherty.