Jack Quann
Jack Quann

21.03 29 Jun 2020


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An Independent TD says there is huge anger and annoyance that there is no senior Cabinet minister from the west.

It comes after Fianna Fáil's deputy leader Dara Calleary said he was angry at not being given a senior ministry.

Instead Taoiseach Micheál Martin appointed him as Government Chief Whip, who will sit at Cabinet without a vote.

Sligo-Leitrim TD Marian Harkin told The Hard Shoulder the image is that they are not important.

"I think you need to see balance in the appointment of Cabinet minsiters.

"And to think that from Donegal right down to Limerick no senior minister appointed.

"The message it gives, the subliminal message, is either the Taoiseach - remember it's not just the Taoiseach, it's the other leaders as well because they made appointments - they're saying either we don't have the talent or it's not important enough.

"And there's huge anger, huge annoyance at what has happened and I can understand that.

"From my own perspective I'm much more about policy than personality, because balanced regional development means that: it means a balance for all the regions.

"And I think one of the things that has bedeviled us is that if you had a minister here or a minister there, you got a bit here and you got a bit there and that's not good policy.

"But nonetheless, I think the image - and Michael Fitzmaurice held up a map [with] a whole region in red and the rest green, and the red had no minister.

"It was a very negative picture, and perhaps a message to the people there that they were not as important - a lot of people see it that way, Ivan".

On his using the map during the Dáil sitting on Saturday, Deputy Fitzmaurice said: "A map tells a thousand words and it was never as true as Saturday evening when there was a large part of the country left without a minister.

"Fourteen Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and Green TDs were elected to that area - so there was plenty of choice.

"There is 1.5 million people to represent.

"If you were the leader of a party, and people talk about merit, and if you had somebody your deputy leader for three to four years - maybe five years - surely you would be classing them as up there at the top."

"It's not because of where you come from or what you do - what is very important is that in each region the knowledge, the expertise and from where you come from to know how people live and work in areas."

'Huge anger, huge annoyance' over no minister from the west

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Main image: Taoiseach Micheál Martin (centre) and Tánaiste Leo Varadkar at a post-Cabinet press briefing in Dublin Castle. Picture by Julien Behal Photography

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Cabinet Appointments Cabinet Minister Dara Calleary Marian Harkin Michael Fitzmaurice The Hard Shoulder

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