Donegal-based Minister Joe McHugh says it’s ‘a double honour’ to have been appointed by new Taoiseach Leo Varadkar as a junior minister with responsibility for the Gaeltacht and the Islands, as well as Fine Gael’s chief whip.
McHugh had been Minister of State for the Diaspora.
In announcing the appointment in the Dail last night, the Taoiseach made clear the Donegal man will have a seat at the cabinet table.
McHugh says he is delighted to be back in his role with responsibility for the Gaeltacht, having been appointed in July 2014 as a Minister of State with responsibility for Gaeltacht Affairs and Natural Resources.
As chief whip, one of his main roles is to ensure that members attend and vote as the party leadership desires.
Meanwhile, Mayoman Michael Ring has been appointed a full minister with responsibilty for Rural and Community Affairs.
Mary Mitchell O Connor from Dun Laoighre Rathdown but who has close Sligo links, was the only minister to be demoted.
She had been Minister of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation but Leo Varadkar has now made her a Minister of State at the Department of Education with responsibility for higher education.
She will continue to sit at the cabinet table but will no longer have a vote.
People Before Profit TD Bríd Smith says her demotion raises serious concerns about the new administration: