Europe

New Irish government ministers appointed to Cabinet

Enda Kenny was congratulated by his Fine Gael party colleagues after his re-election Image copyright AFP/Getty
Image caption Enda Kenny was congratulated by his Fine Gael party colleagues after his re-election

Taoiseach (Irish Prime Minister) Enda Kenny has appointed a new Cabinet just hours after he was re-elected to govern for a second term.

The ministers were announced on Friday afternoon, 70 days after voters went to the polls to elect a new government.

Charlie Flanagan, who has been heavily involved in peace talks in Northern Ireland, has been re-appointed as minister of foreign affairs.

The Cabinet also includes a number of independent elected representatives.

The support of independents was necessary to allow Mr Kenny's Fine Gael party to lead a minority government, after the general election of 26 February produced a hung parliament.

Among the new independent ministers is Katherine Zappone, a high-profile campaigner for same-sex marriage who was born in the US but moved to the Republic of Ireland 28 years ago.

In May 2015, she famously proposed to her wife on live state television after Irish voters approved the introduction of same-sex marriage in a referendum.

Ms Zappone, who became the first openly lesbian member of the Irish parliament earlier this year, has been appointed as minister for children and youth affairs.

Other independent ministers include former business journalist and senator Shane Ross and Denis Naughten, who resigned from Fine Gael in 2011 in protest at cuts to hospital services.

The new Cabinet consists of:

  • Finance Minister Michael Noonan
  • Health Minister Simon Harris
  • Foreign Affairs Minister Charlie Flanagan
  • Social Protection Minister Leo Varadkar
  • Public Expenditure and Reform Minister Paschal Donohoe
  • Jobs Minister Mary Mitchell O'Connor
  • Agriculture Minister Michael Creed
  • Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald
  • Children and Youth Affairs Minister Katherine Zappone
  • Education and Skills Minister Richard Bruton
  • Housing Minister Simon Coveney
  • Communications Minister Denis Naughten
  • Transport Minister Shane Ross
  • Regional Development, Rural Affairs and Arts and Culture Minister Heather Humphreys
  • Defence - Enda Kenny with Paul Kehoe as Minister of State with Special Responsibility for Defence

Independent member Finian McGrath will also attend Cabinet and have special responsibility for disability.

Frances Fitzgerald, who has been re-appointed for a second term as minister for justice, has also been named as tánaiste (deputy prime minister).

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