Ministerial appointments by constituency

Adrian Kavanagh, Thursday 10th March

This post will look at the recent ministerial appointments by constituency and by region and will consider whether Geography had an influence on these.

  Minister Minister of State Fine Gael Labour
Constituency Male Female Male Female TDs TDs
Carlow-Kilkenny 1       3 1
Cavan-Monaghan         3  
Clare         2 1
Cork East     1   2 1
Cork North-Central       1 1 1
Cork North-West         2  
Cork South-Central 1       2 1
Cork South-West         2 1
Donegal North-East         1  
Donegal South-West     1   1  
Dublin Central         1 1
Dublin Mid-West   1     2 2
Dublin North 1       2 1
Dublin North-Central 1       1 1
Dublin North-East         1 2
Dublin North-West       1 0 2
Dublin South 1       3 1
Dublin South-Central         1 2
Dublin South-East 1     1 2 2
Dublin South-West 1   1   1 2
Dublin West 1 1     1 1
Dun Laoghaire 1       2 1
Galway East       2 1
Galway West         2 1
Kerry North-West Limerick 1       1 1
Kerry South         1  
Kildare North         2 1
Kildare South         1 1
Laois-Offaly         2  
Limerick City 1     1 2 1
Limerick            2  
Longford-Westmeath     1   2 1
Louth     1   2 1
Mayo 1   1   4  
Meath East     1   2 1
Meath West         2  
Roscommon-South Leitrim       2  
Sligo-North Leitrim     1   2  
Tipperary North     1   1 1
Tipperary South         1  
Waterford         2 1
Wexford 1   1   2 1
Wicklow         3 1

With just thirty ministerial and junior ministerial posts to be distributed, this meant that just 18.1% of Dail deputies and just 21.0% of the (113) Fine Gael and Labour TDs will be taking up these posts.

Of the senior ministerial positions, only two (13.3%) have been taken up by female deputies. Dublin dominates in terms of the regional distribution of senior ministerial posts, with nine (60.0%) of cabinet posts being taken by deputies from this region – with 25.7% of the 35 Fine Gael/Labour Dail deputies elected from this region earning full cabinet position. Three (20.0%) of cabinet posts were taken by deputies from the Munster region – 10.0% of the 30 Fine Gael/Labour Dail deputies elected from this region. Two (13.3%) of cabinet posts were taken by deputies from the Leinster region – 6.9% of the 29 Fine Gael/Labour Dail deputies elected from this region. Only one (6.7%) of cabinet posts were taken by deputies from the Connacht-Ulster region – 5.3% of the 19 Fine Gael/Labour Dail deputies elected from this region. With Simon Coveney and Michael Noonan added into the equation, urban-based deputies account for just under three-quarters (73.3%) of all cabinet positions, amounting to just under one quarter (23.9%) of urban-based Fine Gael/Labour deputies. Four (26.7%) cabinet posts went to rural-based deputies, with 6.0% of rural-based Fine Gael/Labour deputies attaining these posts. Given the very obvious Dublin and urban bias in the senior ministerial appointments, Geography does not seem to have played a significant influence in determining these.

In term of junior ministerial positions, four positions (26.7%) have been taken up by female deputies. Dublin is not as dominant in terms of the regional distribution of junior ministerial posts, with three (20.0%) of cabinet posts being taken by Dublin-based deputies. The other three regions have each been given four junior ministerial posts (26.7% of the total number). In this case, Geography does seem to have played a role in determining these positions and there may also have been conscious effort made here to compensate for the under-representation of Leinster, Munster and Connacht-Ulster, as well as rural Ireland – and also the under-representation of female deputies – at senior cabinet level, with two-thirds of junior ministerial posts being awarded to Fine Gael/Labour deputies from rural constituencies.

In total, six of the thirty senior and junior ministerial posts were taken by female deputies (20.0%), with no ministerial post being awarded to a female deputy from a rural constituency. This is despite the fact that the combined number of female Fine Gael/Labour deputies in rural constituencies is exactly the same (nine) as the combined number in urban constituencies, thus 66.7% of urban based female government deputies attained ministerial office against a 0.0% level for rural-based female deputies.

12 senior/ministerial positions have gone to deputies from the Dublin region, with over one-third (34.3%) of all 35 Dublin-based Fine Gael and Labour deputies attaining ministerial positions.

5 senior/ministerial positions have gone to deputies from the Connacht-Ulster region, with over a quarter (26.3%) of all 19 Connacht-Ulster-based Fine Gael and Labour deputies attaining ministerial positions.

7 senior/ministerial positions have gone to deputies from the Munster region, with over under one-quarter (23.3%) of all 30 Munster-based Fine Gael and Labour deputies attaining ministerial positions.

6 senior/ministerial positions have gone to deputies from the Leinster region, with just over one-fifth (20.7%) of all 29 (Rest of) Leinster-based Fine Gael and Labour deputies attaining ministerial positions.

16 senior/ministerial positions have gone to deputies from the urban constituencies, with over one-third (34.8%) of all 46 urban-based Fine Gael and Labour deputies attaining ministerial positions. 14 senior/ministerial positions have gone to deputies from the rural constituencies, with just over one-fifth (20.9%) of all 67 rural-based Fine Gael and Labour deputies attaining ministerial positions.

24 constituencies have ministerial representaiton, either at senior or junior level. The most successful constituency in terms of ministerial allocations has been Dublin West, whose two government deputies, Leo Varadkar and Joan Burton, have both attained positions at cabinet level. The other constituencies to earn two ministerial positions were Dublin South East, Dublin South West, Limerick City and Wexford.  19 constituencies are left without ministerial representation. Most notable amongst these is the Wicklow constituency, which elected four government deputies in the general election, as well as a number of consitituencies that elected three government deputies – including the Dublin North East and Cork South West constituencies that both elected only government deputies and also Cavan-Monaghan, Clare, Dublin South-Central, Galway West, Kildare North and Waterford. Constituencies that had representation at cabinet level during the lifetime of the previous Fianna Fail-Green Party government are now left without ministerial representation, including Laois-Offaly and Dublin Central, the home constituencies of the two former Taoisigh, as well as Cavan-Monaghan, Galway West, Clare, Dublin South Central, Meath West and Waterford.

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About Adrian Kavanagh

Lecturer in Maynooth University Department of Geography.
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