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After all the intrigue and last-minute phone calls, Enda names his Cabinet

ENDA Kenny made final calls to the members of his new cabinet today after keeping some in the dark until the last minute.

As expected Mr Kenny appointed close confidants Phil Hogan and Frances Fitzgerald to top positions, while Michael Noonan was set for the finance portfolio.

The new Taoiseach began his day by attending a prayer service at St Ann's Church on Dawson Street before returning to Leinster House.

He was then due to meet secretly with his new ministers including Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore at Government Buildings before his election as Taoiseach.



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Around lunchtime Mr Kenny was travelling to Aras an Uachtarain where he was to be given his seal of office by President Mary McAleese. He was then set to return to the Dail to announce his new Cabinet.

A Fine Gael source said: "Nobody will be exactly sure of who the ministers are until Enda stands up in the Dail. The names in circulation are right in broad terms but not exact."

Sources within the party were adamant that Michael Noonan was the only name in the mix for Finance Minister.

Labour's Joan Burton was expected to take the second arm of the department which will focus on public expenditure and public sector reform. Ms Burton told the Herald this morning that she was still waiting for "the call from the boss" but optimistic that it would come. "We have to present a fresh new image of Ireland to the EU and the world.

"It's a daunting job but I'm confident we can end the cronyism that has gone on," she said.

Richard Bruton will be forgiven for trying to dethrone Kenny last summer and is likely to be the new Minister for Enterprise.

Fine Gael sources added that they fully expected that Alan Shatter would be the new Justice Minister.

As well as the job of Tanaiste, Eamon Gilmore has asked to be in charge of Foreign Affairs which will also take responsibility for trade.

'Big' Phil Hogan, who is credited with running Fine Gael's most successful election campaign ever, will be rewarded with his chosen portfolio of Environment. Deputy leader of Fine Gael Dr James Reilly is set to take over the poison chalice of the Department of Health.

There will be substantial changes to a number of departments with community, equality and Gaeltacht affairs set for the cut.

Dublin Mid-West TD Frances Fitzgerald was set to take over a redesigned department dealing with culture and community affairs.



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Her vast experience as a social worker and chair of the National Women's Council was taken into consideration in her appointment.

And Dinny McGinley was widely tipped for the position of junior minister in charge of the Gaeltacht.

Brendan Howlin, who helped negotiate the programme for government, is expect to be appointed to the Department of Social Protection which will be renamed as the Department of Social Welfare and Training.

Pat Rabbitte's position in the Cabinet remained unclear this morning.

Education will be the responsibility of Labour with Mr Gilmore set to choose between Roisin Shortall, Sean Sherlock, Ruairi Quinn and Jan O'Sullivan.

As reported it will be the responsibility of the Labour Party to propose a new Attorney General.

For those who missed out today there is still the prospect of a junior ministry when Mr Kenny makes those appointments shortly before leaving for the annual St Patrick's Day visit to the White House.

kdoyle@ herald.ie