Fine Gael TDs fear Varadkar ax as Junior Minister posts are reshuffled

Fine Gael TDs fear newly appointed Taoiseach Leo Varadkar will seek to exercise his power by putting a number of junior ministers on the chopping block.

They feel the heat before a new appointment to the departmental directors, which is likely to be more dramatic than the cabinet changes announced at the weekend.

Meanwhile, Fianna Fáil members are expecting minor changes to their own ministers of state.

Among the Fine Gael ministers who could be candidates for the hoe is Frank Feighan, who is widely expected not to be reappointed as Drugs Minister.

Although colleagues had previously informed that special education minister Josepha Madigan could potentially be fired, a government source said it would not look good for Varadkar to fire a female minister as one of his first steps after returning as a Taoiseach.

Diaspora Minister Colm Brophy is also under pressure – as Fine Gael previously held both ministerial posts in this department.

New foreign minister Micheál Martin could appoint a minister from Fianna Fáil for this role.

Dara Calleary, who was appointed junior minister at the Department for Enterprise in recent months, is likely to remain in that role.

Fianna Fáil does not expect any major changes in her own ministers.

However, Fianna Fáil’s Thomas Byrne is to be removed as Minister for European Affairs, as that ministerial role is normally held by a minister of the same party as the Taoiseach.

Some expect he will instead be reappointed as Minister of State in the Department for Sport – Jack Chambers’ former role.

Mr Byrne is also fluent in Irish, which could help him secure this position at the Department for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media.

It is also expected that there will be a reshuffle of junior ministers in the Departments of Finance and Public Expenditure and Reform.

With Paschal Donohoe and Michael McGrath swapping roles, it is expected that they will have Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael as junior ministers in their new departments.

This could result in the transfer of current Public Works Secretary Patrick O’Donovan and Deputy Treasury Secretary Sean Fleming.

With experience as a trained accountant, Junior Housing Minister Peter Burke could be transferred to the Treasury Department to work under Michael McGrath.

Fianna Fáil ministers are not expected to be transferred to Department for Further Education and Higher Education, Niall Collins, or Department of Agriculture, Martin Heydon.

The Ministers of State at the Ministry of Health, Mary Butler and Anne Rabbitte, are also unlikely to be transferred. It remains to be seen whether Ms. Rabbitte will be given more powers in the Department of Integration, where she would have more responsibility for housing Ukrainian refugees.

Meanwhile, Fine Gael’s Kerry TD Brendan Griffin, who was snubbed for the Chief Whip position, could be rewarded with a job.

Sources said he was unhappy with the decision, and Galway Senator Seán Kyne tweeted: “My condolences go out to my good friend Brendan Griffin, having played the role of Deputy Chief Whip with great skill for the last two and a half years because he was overlooked.”

Names such as Neale Richmond and Jennifer Carroll MacNeill have also been circulated for the European Affairs role.

Green Foreign Ministers Malcolm Noonan, Joe O’Brien and Ossian are to keep their jobs. Fine Gael TDs fear Varadkar ax as Junior Minister posts are reshuffled

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