Irish cabinet reshuffle sees highest number of women ever


By staff reporter

As Enda Kenny announced his reshuffled cabinet in the Dail this afternoon it emerged that there are now more female members than ever been before.

A total of five women now sit in cabinet positions as Ministers Jan O’Sullivan and Heather Humphries join An Tánaiste Joan Burton and Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald, along with the Attorney General, Máire Whelan SC.

O’Sullivan, a qualified Montesorri teacher, succeeded Ruari Quinn as Minister for Education.

The long-serving Labour TD said: “I am absolutely delighted. I have had a lifelong interest in education.

“I believe very strongly that it is one of the most important areas of life insofar as if young people and second chance people get an appropriate opportunity in education, that is hugely life-changing for them.

First time TD Heather Humphries was promoted as Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht.

Niamh Gallagher, Co-Founder of Women for Election said of the reshuffle: “We are delighted to congratulate Ministers O’Sullivan and Humphries on their appointment to cabinet.”

“The fact that 27% of Senior Ministers are women is a marker of how far we have come in Irish public life but also of how far we have yet to go. The skills and talents of Irish female politicians are finally beginning to be recognised.

“We look forward to seeing the difference these women will bring to the visibility of women in politics and we hope it highlights the viability of politics as an opportunity open to women.”

In other changes to the cabinet Enda Kenny announced that Phil Hogan will be appointed EU Commissioner.

Pascal Donohoe will become Minister for Transport, with Simon Coveney to take on the Defence portfolio while remaining as Minister for Agriculture.

Alex White is the new Minister for Communications, Energy and and Natural Resources after Pat Rabbitte was dropped from cabinet.

Charlie Flanagan takes over at the Department of Foreign Affairs and Alan Kelly will become Minister for the Environment.

James Reilly moves to Children and Youth Affairs, while Leo Varadkar replaces him as Minister for Health.

The appointments will be formalised by President Michael D Higgins at Áras an Uachtaráin this afternoon.

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