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Rebel Creighton gets surprise junior post

ENDA Kenny has kept his friends close -- but now one of his former enemies will be even closer.

One-time rebel Lucinda Creighton will be stationed in the Department of An Taoiseach after getting a surprise junior ministry.

The Dublin TD will be in charge of European Affairs -- an office that is directly attached to Mr Kenny's.

She has been one of Mr Kenny's staunchest critics over the past year and was not expected to feature in his ministerial line up.

But she was named in the line-up for the €130,000-a-year job.

Ms Creighton chaired the special committee set up after the defeat of the first Lisbon Treaty referendum and her new post gives her an important role in Government.

Mr Kenny pledged two years ago to cut the number of junior ministers to 12, but instead went ahead with a full team of 15 new ministers. The move led to criticism from Fianna Fail that Fine Gael had broken its promise to reduce the number of junior ministers.

None of the junior ministers will be travelling abroad for St Patrick's Day as the Government slashed the number of visits by two thirds. Their salaries have also been cut by 6.6pc, from €139,000 to €130,000.

Another key appointment was that of Brian Hayes as Minister of State at the Department of Finance with responsibility for public service reform and the Office of Public Works.

Meanwhile Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore told his six new junior ministers, half of whom are women, to "work hard and make sure you represent the people well".

mlavery@herald.ie