Enda Kenny’s reign is over and the country has a new leader this morning and with that it seemingly marks the dawn of a new era or will it be much of the same policies under a new figure head as the new Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has officially announced his new cabinet.
Although the dust has barely settled on a leadership campaign that only looked like providing one outright winner, the task of turning around Ireland’s deepest problems is still on the horizon for Varadkar and his latest decision to move a number of key ministers to different departments could make or break his future as Dail Eireann’s top dog.
With a lengthy summer break still to come Mr Varadkar’s reshuffle will surely have a long and arduous winter ahead to turn around a number of key issues including the health, housing and homeless crisis along with maintaining Ireland’s slow but progressing economic recovery.
As the old figure heads such as Kenny and Noonan depart for pastures new Varadkar’s cabinet stamp of approval will come in for more scrutiny than ever as opposition TD’s within the Dail will be looking to seize any opportunity to capitalise on a Government that is vastly inexperienced in their new roles.
Varadkar maybe keen to get off the ground running but his latest choices could prove to be costly if they don’t meet a demand that is looking ever more daunting as each day goes by.
Although the new Taoiseach has decided to stick with many of the old and trusted faces within the Dail the outlook will be somewhat different under his regime as some loyal devoted ministers will be finally given their shot in more senior roles.
The much discussed reshuffle will see some new department heads with the Tánaiste Frances Fitzgerald becoming one of those key movers as she is now the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Employment.
Meanwhile Paschal Donohoe will be given greater responsibility as both the Departments of Finance and Public Expenditure and Reform will be combined.
But rather surprisingly Varadkar’s former rival Simon Coveney, will be the new Minister for Foreign Affairs with special responsibility for Brexit, despite his wish to remain on as housing minister.
Amongst the other movers Charlie Flanagan will now be the head of the Department of Justice, whilst Eoghan Murphy and Regina Doherty will officially become the Minister for Housing and the Minister for Social Protection and Labour, respectively.
With the Chief Whip, being Donegal TD Joe McHugh.
However one of the biggest question marks surrounding Mr Varadkar’s cabinet appointments is that of the retention of Simon Harris as the Minister for Health despite strong calls for the 30 year old to be relieved of his position.
Given that he has inherited a number of challenging problems it will take some time to see whether or not Leo Varadkar’s Government can handle the pressures of sustaining an ever changing Ireland and it’s people.
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