Murphy is confident he will keep role

Murphy is confident he will keep role
Dara Murphy

JUNIOR Minister Dara Murphy hopes he has done enough to retain his role in the new government, but said that the decision rests with the new Taoiseach.

Speaking ahead of yesterday's appointment of Leo Varadkar as Taoiseach, the Cork North Central TD, who has served as Minister of State for European Affairs since 2014, said that little had been revealed to TDs.

Mr Varadkar last night appointed his cabinet, with Cork's Simon Coveney and Michael Creed retaining their seats at the table.

While the former will see his brief changed, focusing on Foreign Affairs and Brexit, the latter is set to remain in Agriculture.

Junior Ministries will not be revealed until early next week, with the Dáil adjourning until Tuesday afternoon.

It is unclear whether the new Brexit mandate attached to the foreign affairs brief will eliminate the need for a separate European Affairs Minister, though Mr Murphy remained bullish about his chances of keeping his role.

He said, "It is the Taoiseach's prerogative, of course, but I am hoping to be reappointed.

"I have enjoyed my role and it is important in the context of Brexit."

Mr Murphy has been working with civil servants in Ireland and Brussels to secure the best deal possible for Ireland in the wake of Brexit.

With crunch negotiations due to start with Theresa May's government in just over a week, it remains to be seen just how much Mr Varadkar will seek to change.

Mr Murphy said, "I think we have done well in what we have been asked to do so far - but it is a matter for the Taoiseach."

Mr Murphy paid tribute to the new Taoiseach and said he looks forward to working with the new party leadership, which includes Simon Coveney as deputy leader.

"It's great to see that the two who competed for the leadership now are the leadership," he said.

"It will be seen as a unifying move for the party but I didn't see a need for unity - there was no animosity from either side. Most people found it very difficult to cast their vote. Leo and Simon were quite friendly before the contest and I have no doubt that they will slip right back into that.

"The deputy leader has a very important role to play in getting Fine Gael back up to 60 or 70 seats nationwide, which we believe that we can do."

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