Inside Cabinet reshuffle shake-up with new special ministry plan as TDs sweat


TALKS over a Cabinet reshuffle will continue through the week as it emerged the Coalition is set to create a new special ministry for Ukraine.

The three Government party leaders will meet on Monday to discuss new front bench positions with just days to go to the big switch.

Coalition leaders will continue reshuffle talks all week

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Coalition leaders will continue reshuffle talks all week

Taoiseach Micheal Martin is due to swap places with Tanaiste Leo Varadkar as part of a deal agreed during the formation of the Coalition.

Tensions are growing with the rotation sparking a reshuffle of the top jobs.

The Irish Sun understands that Fianna Fail are angling for the Department of Rural and Community Development to be swapped to their side of the Coalition.

And it is understood the Coalition is poised to create a new junior ministry with responsibility for the 70,000 Ukrainian refugees who have fled to Ireland to escape Mad Russian despot Vladimir Putin’s invasion of their homeland.

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Under the Constitution, the Government cannot have more than 15 senior Cabinet ministers.

But moves are being made to swell the ranks of ministries of State to ease reshuffle tensions between the two big Coalition parties, Fianna Fail and Fine Gael.

Despite fears of a public backlash to the move to increase numbers on the junior ministerial ranks, speculation was raging that two new junior ministries could be created as part of a deal.

A junior minister is expected to be appointed to deal with the response to the Ukrainian refugee crisis.

It is currently spread across several government departments – but Government sources indicated it would soon be coordinated by a single ministry.

NEW ROLE

It is expected the junior ministry for refugees will come under Minister Roderic O’Gorman’s Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth.

Fianna Fail TD Anne Rabbitte – currently Minister of State for Disabilities – has reportedly lobbied to be given a new role of supporting those fleeing the war in Ukraine.

A second ministry could also be created as part of a deal to ease reshuffle tensions between the two Coalition top dogs.

Ahead of the reshuffle, Frankie Feighan, the junior health minister, has said he expects to lose his post.

Martin is expected to take the Foreign Affairs portfolio.

As ministers sweat over their futures, Minister for Housing Darragh O’Brien is one of the few who has been told he will be remaining in position after the reshuffle on Saturday.

FINAL DECISIONS

But as Varadkar thrashes out arrangements as he prepares to become Taoiseach again, disquiet within his Fine Gael party is growing over controversies engulfing the political leader.

Concern has raged at Varadkar’s decision to leak a confidential GP contract to a friend, while a recent video of the Tanaiste socialising in a Dublin nightclub have increased worries about his political judgement.

Ministers, TDs and senators have privately said there is frustration with Varadkar’s leadership.

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When quizzed about the video last week, Varadkar said it was a “personal matter” related to his “private life” and he did not want to comment on it.

But the video went viral on social media and has been widely discussed by his own party colleagues.





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