Cabinet appointed

Fitzgerald is Tánaiste and Minister for Justice, Harris takes Health while Noonan keeps Finance

Hugh Linehan Fri, May 6
LIVE: Cabinet appointed

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  • This event has now ended
  • 12:17
    Welcome to this live coverage of the imminent election by the 32nd Dail of a Taoiseach and government.
  • 12:19
    Minister of state Simon Harris is currently speaking to the House, but it's still not entirely clear which and how many independent TDs will be supporting the nomination of Enda Kenny.
  • 12:21
    Over the last hour, it has become clear that there may be a problem with support from Michael Fitzmaurice, the TD who still isn't entirely happy with proposals in relation to turf-cutting rights.
  • 12:22
    There's still no sign of the Independent Alliance TDs in the chamber. No sign either of Fine Gael's Michael Noonan and Simon Coveney. It does look as if this is quite a dramatic race to the finish line.
  • 12:23

  • 12:24
    Micheal Martin now speaking. 'FG showed strong resistance' to its proposals on health and other matters.
  • 12:25
    Martin highly critical of Fine Gael's approach to public statements, gets a dig in at the party's behaviour yesterday.
  • 12:26
    Our Political Editor, Stephen Collins, describes this as a 'moment of high drama' on RTE radio.
  • 12:31
    The issue seems to be whether the six Independent Alliance TDs will stick together or split apart. Meanwhile, Stephen Collins says he understands Michael Healy-Rae will abstain on the election of Enda Kenny.
  • 12:33

  • 12:34

  • 12:35

  • 12:39
    Sarah Bardon of our political staff reports:

    The Independent Alliance is still meeting with Minister for Finance Michael Noonan and Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney.
    Roscommon South Leitrim TD Michael Fitzmaurice is said to have told the party he will not support Fine Gael.
    However Mr Noonan and Mr Fitzmaurice are holding further talks to secure his support.
  • 12:39
    Gerry Adams: 'Sinn Fein will fulfil our obligations as the real leaders of the Opposition'.
  • 12:41
    RTE's Brian Dowling agrees with Sarah Bardon that renewed efforts are being made to resolve the issues outstanding with Michael Fitzmaurice, with a view towards keeping the six Independent Alliance TDs together.
  • 12:45
    Labour will be voting against Enda Kenny, says Joan Burton. She attacks Fianna Fail for its position on water charges, says it was protecting its political hide against Sinn Fein.

  • 12:48

  • 12:50
    We're not sure who the 'Enda Jenny' mentioned in that Labour tweet is. But, as all party leaders are aware, Twitter can be a dangerous thing.
  • 12:52
    Michael Fitzmaurice has apparently agreed to go back and talk further with Michael Noonan. Looks like there may be a bit more speechifying in the chamber before this gets to the crunch.
  • 12:54
    Amidst all the kerfuffle, we should remember that, should he be re-elected Taoiseach today, Enda Kenny will be the first ever Fine Gael leader to achieve that objective.
  • 12:55

  • 12:58

  • 13:03
    It's important to retain perspective at these moments.

  • 13:05
    Here's a taste of what Joan Burton was saying:

    "Fianna Fail will effectively have their boot on the throat of the Taoiseach, meaning they can push through whatever they like, reject whatever they like and collapse the arrangement whenever they choose.

    "Let’s not be fooled by the pledge to support Fine Gael until 2018.
    Fianna Fail will pick their time, regardless of what deal has been done.

    "And until then, as we have already seen, they will put their own interests ahead of the national interest every time. "

  • 13:06
    Sarah Bardon:

    Fianna Fail has insisted it only agreed to support a Fine Gael minority Government if Mr Kenny secured 58 votes.
    The Fine Gael leader is facing an uphill challenge to secure eight votes as the Independent Alliance continue negotiations with the party.

  • 13:07

  • 13:09
    Oh no.

  • 13:16
    Harry McGee's analysis:

    There are two more speakers to go before the backbenchers start speaking. It's clear that the talks on Government formation will go to the wire.

    What happens when it runs out of speakers? Will Fine Gael have to push backbenchers out to filibuster while Michael Noonan (the Red Adair of these negotiations for Fine Gael) tries to smooth things over with the Independent Alliance.

    At this moment in time it looks like what was so careful constructed is beginning to unravel.

    Yesterday it looked a deal would be done. Now, it's all become very uncertain.
  • 13:17
    Sarah Bardon:

    Fine Gael is currently trying to re-draft some of the Programme for Partnership after requests from Independent Alliance.
  • 13:26
    This just in from a city councillor.

  • 13:27

  • 13:33
    According to some murmurs we're hearing, turf is not the problem here. Or not literal turf, anyway. Some commentators are suggesting what's really at stake is which independents might get ministerial appointments. In this regard, it's worth remembering that Rural Alliance TD Denis Naughten shares his Roscommon-Galway constituency with Independent Alliance TD Michael Fitzmaurice. That sort of turf.
  • 13:39
    Our parliamentary correspondent, Marie O'Halloran, reports:

    Independent Galway West TD Catherine Connolly wished acting Taoiseach Enda Kenny the best of luck in the election that was going to come at some point.

    She said the Independents were wrestling with their conscience.

    The 70 days of talks had been enough time to allow the fig leaf to grow to hide Fine Gael and Fianna Fail’s nakedness.

    Fianna Fail want it every way. They want to be in government and out of it.

    If the Independents had 93 days and behaved like these they would be vilified in the media, she said.
  • 13:40
    Sarah Bardon reports:

    Members of the rural alliance are said to be very frustrated at the re-drafting of the Programme for Partnership.
    Denis Naughten, Michael Harty and Noel Grealish have left the Dail to discuss how to proceed.
    The three TDs said they cannot support a programme that has been changed.
  • 13:41
    “We’re still waiting for Godot. But this isn’t Beckett but more Flann O’Brien in the quality of its absurdity,” said Sinn Fein deputy leader Mary Lou McDonald of the 70 days since the election.
  • 13:43

  • 13:46
    Unconfirmed reports meeting between FG and Independent Alliance are over, and that Michael Fitzmaurice will not be voting for Enda Kenny.
  • 13:48
    Our deputy political editor Pat Leahy says of the numbers on that basis there will be 60 votes, which would elect Kenny as Taoiseach (FF having said he needed at least 58).
  • 13:49

  • 13:51
    Pat Leahy also points out that, even if Kenny is elected, the shambles today does not bode well for the stability of his new government.
  • 13:52

  • 13:54
    Expect a lot of this in the next few hours.

  • 13:55
    Comment is superfluous on this latest note from Marie O'Halloran:

    Independent Alliance have started arriving back in the chamber. Finian McGrath playing air guitar in a gesture across to the government benches.
  • 14:02
    So, just to confirm those numbers. Fianna Fail said Enda Kenny needed at least 58 votes for it to abstain. It looks like he'll have 60, broken down as:

    Fine Gael 50
    Independent Alliance 5
    Rural Alliance 3
    Lowry 1
    Zappone 1
  • 14:06
    Michael Fitzmaurice on Shannonside Radio. 'The IA have put a lot of work into this. You have to sign up sometime. I had to make a call on that. At the end of the day there was no waiting for me. The vote is taking place in seven or eight minutes' time'.
  • 14:07
    The vote on the nomination of Enda Kenny as Taoiseach is now taking place.
  • 14:17
    We're still waiting for the actual vote to take place. The Ceann Comhairle has now officially announced it and TDs are filing up the stairs and through the lobbies to cast their votes. the process will take around 20 minutes, and then Enda Kenny will be announced as Taoiseach.
  • 14:19

  • 14:19

  • 14:20

  • 14:22
    Sarah Bardon says Mr Kenny has secured 58 votes in the vote for Taoiseach.

    Michael Healy Rae, Noel Grealish, Maureen O'Sullivan and Michael Fitzmaurice abstained.
  • 14:24
    Ta 59
    Nil 49
  • 14:25
    Enda Kenny speaks: thanks the House for its support. Says circumstances very different from five years ago when he was first elected. Pays tribute to his former colleagues in labour.
  • 14:26
    Mr Kenny acknowledges many haven't felt the benefit of economic recovery, says using a strong economy to improve people's lives will be 'the bedrock of our policy programme.'
  • 14:26
    Enda Kenny: 'No party or group has any mandate to force or coerce anything'.
  • 14:28
    Five Independent Alliance TDs, two rural TDs, Katherine Zappone and Michael Lowry voted for Mr Kenny as Taoiseach.
  • 14:30
    Enda Kenny:

    'This government has much to do. This country faces many challenges.

    'This programmes lays out the blueprint for a better and a fairer Ireland.. '
  • 14:32
    The House is suspended for three hours as EndaKenny heads to the Phoenix Park It will reconvene in three hours to consider the nomination of the Cabinet.

  • 14:37
    Marie O'Halloran's report:

    Taoiseach Enda Kenny said he was grateful for the support he had received.

    In a speech after being voted in by 59 to 49 as Taoiseach, the first Fine Gael leader to be appointed for a second term, he said he would take the constructive comments from the Opposition during the debate.

    He said he would be energetic and would play an active role in implementing comprehensive reform of the Oireachtas.

    He said everyone would have an opportunity to play a partnership role to build a better Ireland.

    The circumstances of today were very different from five years ago when Ireland’s economic independence was in doubt. He paid tribute to the members of that government, to the Labour Party.

    Mr Kenny said that while Ireland was a better and safer place, five years on, he was very conscious of the people who had not received any benefit.

    He said the bedrock of the Government programme would be the fundamental principle of improving the quality of life for people.

    The Dail has been adjourned for three hours until 5.30 pm while
    the Taoiseach goes to to receive his seal of office from President Michael D Higgins.

    He told the House before he left : “I’ve been here for many years.

    “I’ve seen days here filled with hope and indeed days filled with despair.”

    He said recent years saw our sovereignty lost then regained.

    "As servants of our democracy whether in government or in opposition we now have the opportunity to write the unfolding story of our democracy.

    We should never set limits to our ambitions for the people of this country.

    It is my great honour to accept my nomination as taoiseach."
  • 14:42

  • 14:46
    Fine Gael's Simon Harris (tipped for promotion) tells RTE he's looking forward to putting a government in place 'that reflects the will of the people'. Says there'll be an onus on ministers to listen to arguments from the opposition and civil society.
  • 14:47
    It's been a long day for the photographers and TV crews up at the Aras.

  • 15:04

  • 15:07
    Now it's time for the real deal.

  • 15:13

  • 15:18
    By the way, Aine McMahon is liveblogging the Northern Ireland Assembly election counts, where the results are starting to roll in. You can follow her here.
  • 15:20

    Sarah Bardon has the latest on ministerial appointments:

    Shane Ross will be the senior Minister, Finian McGrath will be the super junior, John Halligan will be a junior Minister.

    Sean Canney and Boxer Moran will be offered the rotating minister of state role.

    The Alliance is hopeful Michael Fitzmaurice will support the Government when turf-cutting issues are resolved over the coming weeks.

  • 15:41

    The Wall Street Journal describes Enda Kenny as 'the first austerity leader from the eurozone to be returned to office'.


  • 16:15

  • 16:18
    So normality and calm has been restored to our troubled land. Telly Bingo is finally on.
  • 16:25

  • 16:26

  • 16:38

  • 17:04
    So who will Enda Kenny announce in his new Cabinet when the Dail reconvenes in 25 minutes? Our sources say independent Denis Naughten is definitely in, along with Fine Gael's Regina Doherty and Simon Harris. Otherwise, they say, it looks like a fairly minimal reshuffle. Also tipped for promotion is Paul Kehoe, with Damien English seen as a possibility for Chief Whip.

    Which is all very well, but where does it leave Shane Ross?
  • 17:06

  • 17:15

  • 17:19
    Yes, that's correct. Sarah Bardon confirms the independent TD for Dublin Rathdown will be responsible for, among other things, the fallout from the Luas strikes and pay claims from bus and rail staff.
  • 17:26
    The Dail will be immediately adjourned at 5.30 and will reconvene at 6.15, which is when we now expect to hear details of Cabinet appointments.
  • 17:28

  • 17:38
    The lolz have begun...

  • 17:41
    As we await the announcement of the new Cabinet, we wonder what his Fine Gael colleagues will make of Shane Ross's first action as minister - leaking the news to the media in advance of his appointment.
  • 17:45
    We don't normally say this, but there's all sorts of interesting stuff to be found in's archives.

  • 17:46

  • 18:14
    Tick Tock....
  • 18:16
    While we're waiting...

  • 18:17

  • 18:26
    Sarah Bardon tells us Michael Creed will be the new Minister for Agriculture
  • 18:26
    It looks as if proceedings are getting underway
  • 18:27
    Katerine Zappone, Mary Mitchell O'Connor, Charlie Flanagan all sitting on the front benches. Also Shane Ross and denis naughten.
  • 18:28
    Regina Doherty starts proceedings.
  • 18:32
    A bit of protocol discussion from Micheal Martin and Caoimin O'Caolain before we get to the business at hand.
  • 18:34
    Enda Kenny is now speaking.
  • 18:38
    Michael Noonan Finance
    Frances Fitzgerald Justice (and Tanaiste)
    Leo Varadkar Social protection

    Mary Mitchell_O’Connor Jobs and Employment
    Simon Coveney Planning and Local Government
    Simon Harris Health
    Paschal Donohoe Public Expenditure and Reform
    Richard Bruton Education
    Simon Harris Health
    Michael Creed Agriculture
    Charlie Flanagan Foreign Affaird

    Heather Humphreys Rural development and Arts

    Denis Naughten Communications
    Shane Ross Transport
    Katherine Zappone Children

    Regina Doherty Chief Whip
  • 18:41

  • 18:42

  • 18:44
    So that looks like promotions for Paschal Donohoe, Heather Humphreys and - possibly - Simon Coveney. But how happy will Leo Varadkar be with his new job in Social Protection?
  • 18:45

  • 18:46

  • 18:49

  • 18:59
    And here's the full list, with the new departmental titles in full, and no typos:

    Department of Social Protection: Leo Varadkar
    Finance: Michael Noonan
    Public Expenditure and Reform: Paschal Donohoe
    Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation: Mary Mitchell O’Connor
    Agriculture, Food and the Marine: Michael Creed
    Justice and Equality: Frances Fitzgerald (Tánaiste)
    Children and Youth Affairs: Katherine Zappone
    Health: Simon Harris
    Foreign Affairs and Trade: Charlie Flanagan
    Education and Skills: Richard Bruton
    Housing, Planning and Local Government: Simon Coveney
    Communications, Climate Change and Natural Resources: Denis Naughten
    Transport, Tourism and Sport: Shane Ross
    Regional Development, Rural Affairs, Arts and the Gaeltacht: Heather Humphreys
    Defence: Enda Kenny
    Minister of State at Departments of the Taoiseach and Defence with Special Responsibility for Defence: Paul Kehoe
    Attorney General: Máire Whelan

  • 19:06
    A few further thoughts on some of these new portfolios. Denis Naughten looks like he's Minister for Irish Water, along with climate change and rural broadband, not to mention broadcasting and wind farms. And saving the planet. of course. Meanwhile, Arts (always runt of the litter in FG eyes) has been downgraded further.
  • 19:09

  • 19:26
    That's it from me for now. It's been an interesting day in Irish politics, with a few historic firsts, albeit delivered in a slightly shambolic fashion. We'll have to wait and see what the future holds for this minority government. Our politics teams and columnists will be giving you lots more analysis and background over the course of the weekend, so do keep checking in on