herald

Friday 15 December 2017

It's the Battle of Dublin for junior portfolios

TAOISEACH Enda Kenny will 
address the major void of ministers in the capital when he completes the Government's ministerial reshuffle this week.

A number of TDs in both Fine Gael and Labour believe their Dublin base will help their elevation to the junior ministerial ranks.

Dun Laoghaire TD Mary Mitchell O'Connor has been widely tipped to be handed a promotion, partly as a result of her south Dublin base.

There is a glaring gap of ministers in this part of the capital following the election of Brian Hayes to Europe and the resignation of former Justice Minister Alan Shatter.

But Ms Mitchell O'Connor's prospects have been damaged by intense behind-the-scenes lobbying on behalf of Dublin South East TD Eoghan Murphy.

The Herald can reveal that Mr Murphy has indicated that he is willing to step down from the banking inquiry if he is handed a junior ministry.

Mr Kenny will likely choose one of the two TDs for promotion as he finalises his list of junior minsters today.

On the Labour side, a number of backbench TDs in the capital are being tipped for promotion by Joan Burton.

The major focus on the capital in the reshuffle could save veteran TD Joe Costello from being dropped, however, his Labour colleagues Kevin Humphreys, Joanna Duffy and John Lyons are all in contention for a promotion.

A a number of other Fine Gael TDs are also lobbying for a promotion.

These include Damien English, Liam Twomey, Simon Harris, Dara Murphy, Regina Doherty and Andrew Doyle. A senior Fine Gael source said the vacant junior finance post is a toss up between Mr English and Mr Twomey.

As for Labour, Ms Burton said she wanted to give opportunities to members of the "Class of 2011", referring to first time TDs.

She said a deal on the country's crippling bank debt could represent a "game changer" for the future of the Coalition.

Ms Burton said an agreement with Europe can only be achieved through "hard prolonged diplomacy", adding that the need for debt write-down is being regularly raised at European level.

burden

"It's a work in progress," she added saying: "Our taxpayers and citizens are still carrying the burden of the bank guarantee that the country was signed into by the previous Government."

Meanwhile, she refused to be drawn on the scale of the budget adjustment in October. She said she would not make any predictions until the Government digests future economic data.

hnews@herald.ie

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