Issues

32nd Government of Ireland

The composition of government is determined by Article 28 of Bunreacht na hÉireann and the Ministers and Secretaries Acts 1924 to 2017. The Constitution indicates that a government must not comprise fewer than seven members or more than 15 members of the Oireachtas. Since 1966, all cabinets have utilised the full complement of 15 ministers. Ministers can come from either the Dáil or the Seanad, though a maximum of two senators may sit in the cabinet and the Taoiseach, Tánaiste and Minister for Finance must be TDs.

Meanwhile, while not members of the government, ministers of state, also known as junior ministers, assist ministers in their departmental work. However, ministers of state may be selected by a government to attend cabinet meetings. Such members are referred to as super junior ministers and currently this includes Fianna Fáil’s Jack Chambers TD, Fine Gael’s Hildegarde Naughton TD and Green Party Senator Pippa Hackett.

Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael each have six full cabinet ministers while the Green Party have three. Women are outnumbered in the cabinet which has only four female members and in terms of geography, eight are from Leinster (five from Dublin, two from Wicklow and one from Meath), four are from Munster (three from Cork and one from Kerry) and three are from Ulster (two from Monaghan and one from Donegal). Already, there have been three ministers appointed to the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine after Brian Cowen TD was sacked by Taoiseach Micheál Martin and his replacement Dara Calleary TD resigned.

Within the tri-party coalition, the Fianna Fáil and Green Party cabinet teams hold the least ministerial experience, with both parties having been out of government since 2011. Meanwhile, each current Fine Gael cabinet member has previously held a ministerial portfolio.

Cabinet

An Taoiseach
Micheál Martin TD

Cork-native Micheál Martin was first elected to the Dáil in 1989. He is currently the Taoiseach and previously served as Minister for Education, Minister for Health, Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment and Minister for Foreign Affairs. Martin became the leader of Fianna Fáil in 2011.

Tánaiste and Department of Business, Enterprise, and Innovation
Leo Varadkar TD

Dublin-born Leo Varadkar was elected to the Dáil on his first attempt in 2007. Currently he is the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, having previously served as Taoiseach, Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Minister for Health and Minister for Social Protection. Varadkar became leader of Fine Gael in June 2017.

Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine Charlie McConalogue TD

Donegal native Charlie McConalogue was first elected to Dáil Éireann in 2011. He currently serves as Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine. Previously, he was appointed as a Minister of State at the Department of Justice and Equality with responsibility for law reform. McConalogue is a member of Fianna Fáil.

Department of Children and Youth Affairs
Roderic O’Gorman TD

Dublin-born Roderic O’Gorman was first elected to the Dáil in 2020. He currently serves as the Minister for Children, Disability, Equality and Integration. Previously, O’Gorman served on Fingal County Council, having been first elected in 2014 and re-elected in 2019. He is a member of the Green Party/An Comhaontas Glas.

Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment; and Transport, Tourism and Sport
Eamon Ryan TD

Dublin-born, Eamon Ryan was first elected to the Dáil in 2002. He is the Minister for Climate Action, Communication Networks and Transport. Ryan has previously Government Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources. He has led the Green Party/An Comhaontas Glas since 2011, having been re-elected to the position in 2020.

Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht
Catherine Martin TD

Monaghan native Catherine Martin was first elected to the Dáil in 2016. She is currently the Minister for Media, Tourism, Art, Culture, Sports and the Gaeltacht. Previously, she represented the Dundrum Ward on Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council from May 2014 to February 2016. Martin is the Deputy Leader of the Green Party/An Comhaontas Glas.

Department of Education and Skills
Norma Foley TD

A Kerry native, Norma Foley was first elected to the Dáil in 2020. Currently, she is the Minister for Education. Previously, Foley served as a member of Kerry County Council for the Tralee area, serving from 1994 until 2020. She is a member of Fianna Fáil.

Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection; and Rural and Community Development
Heather Humphreys TD

Monaghan-born Heather Humphreys was first elected to the Dáil in 2011. Humphreys is the Minister for Social Protection, Community and Rural Development and the Islands having previously served as Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Minister for Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs as well as Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation. She is a member of Fine Gael.

Department of Finance
Paschal Donohoe TD

A native of Phibsborough, Dublin, Paschal Donohoe was first elected to the Dáil in 2011. He is the Minister for Finance and previously served as Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport and Minister for European Affairs. Donohoe is a member of Fine Gael.

Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade; and Defence
Simon Coveney TD

Cork-born Simon Coveney was first elected to the Dáil in 1998. Currently, he is Minister for Foreign Affairs and Defence and previously served as Minister for Agriculture, Marine and Food, Minister for Defence, Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade with responsibility for Brexit and Tánaiste. He is a member of Fine Gael.

Department of Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science
Simon Harris TD

A native of Wicklow, Simon Harris was first elected to the Dáil in 2011. He currently serves as the Minister of Further and Higher Education, Innovation and Science having previously served as Minister of State in the Departments of Finance, Public Expenditure and Reform and the Department of the Taoiseach with Special Responsibility for OPW, Public Procurement and International Banking (including IFSC) and then as Minister for Health. He is a member of Fine Gael.

Department of Health
Stephen Donnelly TD

Wicklow-born Stephen Donnelly was first elected to the Dáil in 2011. He is currently the Minister for Health. Having entered political life as an independent, before joining the Social Democrats in 2015 and parting ways the following year, Donnelly joined Fianna Fáil in 2017.

Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government
Darragh O’Brien TD

A Malahide native, Darragh O’Brien was first elected to the Dáil in 2007, lost his seat in 2011 and was re-elected in 2016 and 2020. O’Brien is the Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage having previously served as Fianna Fáil’s leader in the Seanad between April 2011 and February 2016.

Department of Justice and Equality Helen McEntee TD

Meath-born Helen McEntee was first elected to the Dáil in a byelection in March 2013. She is currently Minister For Justice and Equality, having previously served as Minister for Mental Health and Older People at the Department of Health and Minister of State for EU Affairs. McEntee is a member of Fine Gael.

Department of Public Expenditure and Reform Michael McGrath TD

A native of Cork, Michael McGrath was first elected to the Dáil in 2007. He is currently the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform and previously served on served on the Oireachtas Finance Committee, the Oireachtas Banking Inquiry and the Public Accounts Committee. He is a member of Fianna Fáil.

 

Ministers of state

Minister of State for the Department of the Taoiseach as Government Chief Whip; the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, with responsibility for Gaeltacht; and the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport, with responsibility for Sport: Jack Chambers TD

• Minister of State for the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, with responsibility for Land Use and Biodiversity:
Senator Pippa Hackett

• Minister of State for the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport, with responsibility for Transport: Hildegarde Naughton TD

• Minister of State for the Department of the Taoiseach; and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, with responsibility for EU Affairs: Thomas Byrne TD

• Minister of State for the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform, with responsibility for the Office of Public Works (OPW): Patrick O’Donovan TD

• Minister of State for the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform, with responsibility for Public Procurement and eGovernment: Ossian Smyth TD

• Minister of State for the Department of Education and Skills, with responsibility for Special Education and Inclusion:
Josepha Madigan TD

• Minister of State for the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, with responsibility for Research and Development, Farm Safety and New Market Development: Martin Heydon TD

• Minister of State for the Department of Health; and the Department of Justice and Equality, with responsibility for Disability:
Anne Rabbitte TD

• Minister of State for the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, with responsibility for Overseas Development Aid and Diaspora: Colm Brophy TD

• Minister of State for the Department of Justice and Equality, with responsibility for Law Reform: James Browne TD

• Minister of State for the Department of Rural and Community Development, with responsibility for Community Development and Charities: Joe O’Brien TD

• Minister of State for the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government, with responsibility for Local Government and Planning: Peter Burke TD

• Minister of State for the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht with responsibility for Heritage; and the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government, with responsibility for Electoral Reform: Malcolm Noonan TD

• Minister of State for the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, with responsibility for Trade Promotion: Robert Troy TD

• Minister of State for the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection, with responsibility for Employment Affairs; and the Department of Business Enterprise and Innovation, with responsibility for Retail Business: Damien English TD

• Minister of State for the Department of Health, with responsibility for Mental Health and Older People: Mary Butler TD

• Minister of State for the Department of Health, with responsibility for Public Health, Well Being and the National Drugs Strategy:
Frank Feighan TD

• Minister of State for the Department of Education and Skills, with responsibility for Skills and Further Education: Niall Collins TD

• Minister of State for the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform, with responsibility for Financial Services, Credit Unions and Insurance: Seán Fleming TD

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