Adrian Kavanagh, Friday 6th May 2016 – updated: Friday 19th May 2016
This post will look at ministerial appointments by constituency and by region, following the re-election of Enda Kenny earlier and the announcement of the new cabinet, including Fine Gael and Independent Dail deputies, as well as the junior ministerial appointments which followed almost two weeks later. With thirty three ministerial and junior ministerial posts to be distributed, this meant that just 21.0% of Dail deputies (excluding the Ceann Comhairle) will be taking up these posts, but this percentage increases dramatically to 56.9% when only the Dail deputies from Fine Gael and the group of Independents supporting the Government are factored in. (There was, of course, a chance that some junior ministerial appointments may come from the Seanad ranks, as noted in the previous post, but this did not happen.)
|Senior Ministers||Junior Ministers|
|Cork North Central||1|
|Cork North West||1|
|Cork South Central||1|
|Cork South West|
|Dublin Mid West||1|
|Dublin Bay North||1||1|
|Dublin North West|
|Dublin South Central||1|
|Dublin Bay South||1|
|Dublin South West||1|
As the senior ministerial/cabinet positions, four (26.7%) have been taken up by female deputies – up notably on the two positions that were awarded to females in March 2011 following the formation of the previous government. If the Chief Whip (Regina Doherty) was to be factored in here, then the number of senior ministerial appointments taken up by females increases to five, or 31.3% of the senior ministerial appointments. The percentage of females appointed to the cabinet increases to 42.9% in the case of senior appointments involving Dail deputies from the Dublin region only.
Dublin dominates in terms of the regional distribution of senior ministerial posts, but not to the same extent as was the case in 2011, with seven (46.7%) – as opposed to nine (60.0%) in March 2011 – of the cabinet posts being taken by deputies from the Dublin region. All of the Dublin-based independent Dail deputies who are supporting the government have either been appointed to full cabinet positions (Katherine Zappone, Shane Ross) or to a super-junior ministerial position (Finian McGrath). Five of the fourteen Dublin-based Fine Gael Dail deputies (35.7%) were appointed to the Cabinet. The were seven Cabinet positions divided out between the 36 Fine Gael Dail deputies from the constituencies outside of the Dublin region (19.5%), or eight senior positions (22.2%) if the Chief Whip is also factored in.
Three (20.0%) of the cabinet posts, as was the case after the appointment of the new government in 2011 (although this region did gain an extra minister following the 2014 reshuffle), are now held by deputies from the Munster region. (Within Munster, Cork (the Cork North-West constituency) gains an extra minster at the expense of the Limerick City Tipperary/Tipperary North constituencies.) By contrast, the Leinster region is seem to gain an extra senior appointment (with the Meath East and Wicklow constituencies gaining at the expense of Wexford here), having held just two (13.3%) cabinet posts following the 2011 General Election and the 2014 reshuffle. There was only one senior ministerial position for Connacht-Ulster in 2011, but this number increased to two (13.3%) following the appointment of Heather Humphries in 2014 and now stands at three (20.0%) following the appointment of Denis Naughten.
With Simon Coveney and Michael Noonan added into the equation, urban-based deputies account for close to two-thirds (60.0%) of all cabinet positions.
Given the very obvious Dublin and urban bias that is still evident in terms of senior ministerial appointments, Geography does not seem to have played a significant influence in shaping these. The precedents from the 2011 appointments and the 2014 reshuffle suggested that there would be a somewhat greater degree of geographical balance evident in relation to the junior ministerial appointments, especially given that appointments involving a number of rural-based independent Dail deputies need to be factored in here. This indeed turned out to be the case, as Dublin only accounted for three of the junior ministerial appointments (16.7% of the total). Connacht-Ulster accounted for four of these appointments (22.2%) and Munster accounted for five (27.8%) of these. The region that fared best in this regard was Leinster, which accounted for six (33.3% of these appointments). Half of these junior ministerial appointments in Leinster were accounted for by the two Meath constituencies (3), with Meath accounting for 16.7% of the junior ministerial appointments – a similar level to Dublin!
22.2% (4) of these junior ministerial appointments were given to female Dail deputies, while 77.8% (14) of these were given to male deputies.
Twenty nine constituencies now have either a minister or a junior minister. Eleven constituencies do not have a minister or junior minister, namely Carlow-Kilkenny, Cork South-West, Dublin Fingal, Dublin North-West, Kerry County, Kildare North, Kildare South, Longford-Westmeath, Louth, Sligo-Leitrim and Tipperary. By contrast, four constituencies succeeded in attracting two appointments, namely Dublin Bay North, Mayo, Meath East and Wicklow.