Ministerial and Junior Ministerial appointments by constituency (June 2017)

Adrian Kavanagh, 22nd June 2017

This post will look at ministerial appointments by constituency and by region, following the election of Leo Varadkar as new Taoiseach last week and the subsequent appointment of a new cabinet, including Fine Gael and Independent Dail deputies, as well as the junior ministerial appointments which followed a few days later. With thirty four ministerial and junior ministerial posts to be distributed, this meant that just 21.6% of Dail deputies (excluding the Ceann Comhairle) will be taking up these posts, but this percentage increases dramatically to 58.6% when only the Dail deputies from Fine Gael and the group of Independents supporting the Government are factored in.

Senior Minsters Junior Ministers
Female Male Female Male
Carlow-Kilkenny 1
Cavan-Monaghan 1
Clare 1
Cork East 1
Cork North Central
Cork North West 1
Cork South Central 1
Cork South West 1
Donegal 1
Dublin Central 1
Dublin Mid West 1
Dublin Fingal
Dublin Bay North 1 1
Dublin North West
Dublin Rathdown 1
Dublin South Central 1
Dublin Bay South 1
Dublin South West 1
Dublin West 1
Dun Laoghaire 1
Galway East 1
Galway West 1
Kerry County 1
Kildare North
Kildare South
Laois 1
Limerick City
Limerick County 1
Longford-Westmeath 1
Mayo 1
Meath East 1 1
Meath West 1
Roscommon-Galway 1
Waterford 1
Wexford 2
Wicklow 1 1
STATE 4 11 3 16

In terms of the senior ministerial/cabinet positions, four (26.7%) of these have been taken up by female deputies – a similar level/number to the female appointments made in March 2016, but up notably on the two positions that were awarded to females in March 2011 following the formation of the previous government. The number of female junior ministers has fallen by one, however – with the percentage of junior ministers who are female falling from 22.2% (Spring 2016 appointments) to 15.8%.

As with the March 2016 appointments, 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. Seven Cabinet positions were divided out between the 36 Fine Gael Dail deputies from the constituencies outside of the Dublin region (19.5%).

Following Michael Noonan’s retirement from the post of Minister for Finance, only two (13.3%) of the cabinet posts are now held by deputies from the Munster region. Both the Leinster (rest of Leinster) and Connacht-Ulster regions, by contrast, now have three senior ministers hailing from these regions.

With Simon Coveney added into the equation, urban-based deputies now account for well over half (53,3%) 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 and 2016 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 (15.8% of the total). Connacht-Ulster also accounted for three of these appointments (15.8%)  – down from four in Spring 2016 – while Munster accounted for six (31.6%) of these. The region that fared best in this regard was Leinster, which accounted for seven (36.8% of these appointments). In all, the South European Election constituency accounted for over half of the junior ministerial appointments (52.6%), but just one fifth (20.0%) of the senior ministerial appointments.

15.8% (3) of these junior ministerial appointments were given to female Dail deputies, while 84.2% (16) of these were given to male deputies.

Government TDs seemed to have a much better chance of being appointed to a senior ministerial position if they represented a three seat constituency,  while they had a much better chance of getting a junior ministerial appointment if they represented a five seat constituency. Of the senior ministerial/cabinet appointments, 40.0% of these went to TDs from three seat constituencies, 40.0% of these went to TDs from four seat constituencies and only 20.0% of these went to TDs from three seat constituencies. Of the junior ministerial appointments, only 26.3% of these went to TDs from three seat constituencies, 31.6% of these went to TDs from four seat constituencies and 42.1% of these went to TDs from three seat constituencies.

Thirty constituencies now have either a minister or a junior minister. Ten constituencies do not have a minister or junior minister, namely Cork North-Central, Dublin Fingal, Dublin North-West, Kildare North, Kildare South, Offaly, Limerick City, Louth, Sligo-Leitrim and Tipperary. (There are currently no Government TDs representing the Tipperary constituency.)


About Adrian Kavanagh

Lecturer at the Maynooth University Department of Geography. Email:
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