Full details of Micheál Martin's Cabinet revealed: Cork TDs take prominent positions

Full details of Micheál Martin's Cabinet revealed: Cork TDs take prominent positions
Taoiseach Micheál Martin.

NEW Taoiseach Micheál Martin has announced his Cabinet, with a few shock entries.

Here is a list of the people at the head of the new Government.

- Minister for Justice:

Former minister for European Affairs Helen McEntee is to take up the role of Minister for Justice.

Ms McEntee, who was elected to Dáil Eireann in March 2013, was previously appointed minister of state for mental health and older people in May 2016.

The 34-year-old from Navan was appointed by former taoiseach Enda Kenny to the Oireachtas Committee on Transport and Communications. She is also a member of the Oireachtas Committee on Environment, Culture and the Gaeltacht.

- Minister for Finance:

Fine Gael's Paschal Donohoe retains his position as Minister for Finance. He is one of two ministers to keep his role in the Cabinet.

Mr Donohoe was elected to the Dáil in February 2011 and was previously elected to Seanad Eireann in 2007.

Last year he set out targets to run budget surpluses over the coming years and reduce the country's debt, however he has been tackling the State's mounting debt to deal with Covid-19 since March.

He previously served as minister for transport, tourism and sport from 2014-16 and minister of state for European affairs from 2013-14.

- Tánaiste and Minister for Business and Enterprise:

Former taoiseach Leo Varadkar handed the reins of leading the government to Micheál Martin and will now take over from party colleague Simon Coveney as Tanaiste.

The Fine Gael leader became Ireland's youngest ever taoiseach at the age of 41.

Born in Castleknock in 1979, he is the son of an Irish nurse and an Indian doctor. He joined the centre right youth wing of the Fine Gael party while studying medicine at Trinity College Dublin.

He became a rising star in the party and was known for his outspoken style and became minister for transport, social protection health.

He came out as gay during a radio interview and would be campaigning in support of same-sex marriage referendum in 2015, some 22 years after homosexuality was decriminalised in the Republic.

- Minister for Foreign Affairs:

Simon Coveney will retain his role as Minister for Foreign Affairs which he has held since June 2017. He was appointed the role by Mr Varadkar.

The Cork TD was elected to the Dáil in a by-election following the death of his father Hugh Coveney. After the formation of the coalition government in March 2011, Mr Coveney was appointed minister for agriculture and following a cabinet reshuffle in 2014, he took on the role of minister for defence.

- Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform:

Fianna Fáil's Michael McGrath is the party's former spokesman on finance.

The Cork South Central TD was elected to the Dáil in his first attempt in 2007. Hailing from Passage West, he has served on a number of Oireachtas committees including the Finance Committee, the Oireachtas Banking Inquiry and the Public Accounts Committee.

- Minister for Education:

First-time TD from Kerry, Norma Foley was given the role of Education Minister.

The former Presentation Secondary School teacher is also a daughter of the late Fianna Fáil TD Denis Foley.

She was first elected to Tralee Council in 1994 and unsuccessfully ran for Fianna Fáil in the 2007 general election. In February, she took the fifth and final seat in the Kerry constituency. Ms Foley also sits on the Oireachtas Special Committee on Covid-19 Response.

- Minister for Housing:

Fianna Fáil Darragh O'Brien takes up the difficult task of solving the housing crisis. He replaces Fine Gael's Eoghan Murphy who had a turbulent tenure and served as minister when Ireland saw its highest rate of homelessness.

Mr O'Brien was first elected as a local councillor in North Dublin in 2004 and was elected to the Dail in 2007. He previously served as leader of Fianna Fáil in the Seanad from 2011-16 and served as a Senator for the Labour Panel for five years.

Before entering politics, the Malahide man worked in the financial services sectors for 15 years.

- Minister for Health:

Fianna Fáil's health spokesman Stephen Donnelly will take up the portfolio of health.

The TD for Wicklow and East Carlow since 2011 has been a thorn in the side of former health minister Simon Harris, particularly over major health issues including the CervicalCheck scandal.

Mr Donnelly stood first as an Independent, then became co-founder and joint leader of the Social Democrats in 2015, and stood successfully for the party in the 2016 general election.

However, he left the Social Democrats in September 2016, and was Independent again before joining Fianna Fáil in February 2017. He has worked across various sectors, including private equity, retail, public infrastructure, healthcare, education, international development, the voluntary and social sectors.

- Minister for Agriculture:

Fianna Fáil TD Barry Cowen is the party's former spokesman on Public Expenditure and Reform, and is a TD for Laois/Offaly.

Mr Cowen comes from a well-known political family and is a brother of former taoiseach Brian Cowen while his father Bernard Cowen was a TD for many years.

Mr Cowen was an auctioneer and valuer. He will steer the Department of Agriculture through some of its biggest challenges, including climate action and Brexit.

- Minister for Climate Action:

Green Party leader Eamon Ryan has been at the helm of the party since May 2011. He previously served as Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources from 2007 to 2011 when the Green Party were last in Government with Fianna Fáil.

Born in Dublin, Mr Ryan became involved in politics in 1998 and was co-opted to Dublin City Council. He is set to face deputy leader Catherine Martin in a leadership challenge.

- Minister of Higher Education:

Simon Harris moves from the Health Ministry where he helped to steer the country through the worst of the crisis into Higher Education.

He was the youngest member of the Dáil when he was first elected as a TD for Wicklow back in 2011. He was previously a Minister of State for in the Department of Public Expenditure and the Office of Public Works.

- Minister for Children, Disability and Equality:

First time Green Party TD Roderic O'Gorman was elected in Dublin West in February. He previously worked as a lecturer in EU law in Dublin City University's Brexit institute so is well versed in education matters.

It was feared the department of children would be scrapped in the new government but the Green Party lobbied hard to keep it during government talks.

- Minister for Rural Affairs:

Fine Gael TD Heather Humphreys moves from business to rural affairs. A native of Co Monaghan, she has previously served as Arts Minister and Enterprise and Business Minister.

- Minister for Culture:

Green Party deputy leader Catherine Martin will be Minister for Culture, Arts, Media, Tourism and Sport. Her bumper portfolio comes as she gets ready to launch a leadership bid against current leader Eamon Ryan.

- Government Chief Whip:

In a move that shocked many in Fianna Fáil, the party's deputy leader Dara Calleary was confirmed as the Government Chief Whip. It was thought that Mr Calleary would be included in the Cabinet, however the Co Mayo man was shunned from the government table.

Mr Calleary has been a TD in the Dáil since 2007. He previously served as Minister of State at the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment, with special responsibility for Labour Affairs.

First time Green Party Senator Pippa Hackett will become a super junior minister in Agriculture with responsibility for Land Use and Biodiversity.

Fine Gael TD Hildegarde Naughten will become a super junior minister for transport, aviation and the marine.

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