Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Coveney has been appointed by Taoiseach Leo Varadkar to the position of Tánaiste, succeeding Frances Fitzgerald who resigned earlier this week, writes Daniel McConnell of the Irish Examiner.
Normal proceedings in the Dáil were suspended to allow Mr Varadkar make the announcement which sees his main leadership rival elevated to the position of Tánaiste.
Minister Heather Humphreys has been moved to the Department of Business Enterprise and Innovation and she will now be replaced in her old department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht by first time TD Josepha Madigan, the Dublin Rathdown TD.
The elevated ministers will this afternoon will travel to Aras an Uachtarain to receive their seals of office.
In the Dáil, most Opposition leaders including Micheal Martin, Mary Lou McDonald, Brendan Howlin, Eamon Ryan and Richard Boyd Barrett wished the new appointees well in their posts.
However, Ms McDonald and Solidarity TD Ruth Coppinger did call into question the appointment of Ms Madigan to the Department of Culture given what they described were her anti-Traveller comments in previous times.
Ms Coppinger described her as engaging in “anti-traveller bigotry” adding it “said a lot” about this Government’s attitude to minorities.
Announcing the new appointees, Mr Varadkar said: “Appointing the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Simon Coveney TD, as Tánaiste will enhance his role in the Brexit negotiations currently underway and will make it easier for him to coordinate the work of other departments with respect of Brexit.
“In appointing Minister Humphreys to the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation, for the first time in seven years the minister will be from outside the Dublin region, and also from the Border. This is particularly relevant in the context of Brexit and also the Government’s commitment to bring more jobs and good jobs to all regions of Ireland, especially rural Ireland. Heather’s experience as a minister and also her background in banking and finance makes her very suited to this role.
“Minister Madigan will build on the work of Minister Humphreys in the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, and will drive forward the Government’s agenda for arts, culture and heritage, including the Creative Ireland programme, an ambitious ten year capital plan for the arts and multi-annual increases in funding for culture and heritage.”
The nominations were approved by the Dáil.