Dara Calleary is thought to be most likely to be promoted due to the announcement that Agriculture Minister Barry Cowen has been given a stick and a road
A new Minister of State for the Gaeltacht could be appointed without delay and Dara Calleary has been in post for less than three weeks.
Calleary is thought to have the greatest chance of promotion and government vacancy since Agriculture Minister Barry Cowen was given a stick and a road last night.
The coalition government was sharply criticized when the new ministers were announced because there was no senior minister from the west of the country and Calleary’s case was the causé celebre most criticized by the Taoiseach, Micheál Martin.
While the deputy leaders of Fine Gael and the Green Party appeared to have received their choice of senior ministries, Calleary, the deputy leader of Fianna Fáil, was appointed Chief Whip and Minister of State for the Gaeltacht and Sport.
Callaery himself said he was “very disappointed” by the situation but may now be facing a promotion less than three weeks later.
Michael Martin will now be under great pressure not to ignore Callaery in the second round.
As it is likely that there would be no change to the new departments, a promotion for Calleary would leave a vacancy to be filled for the Irish language ministry.
The Minister for Media, Tourism, Arts, Culture, Sport and the Gaeltacht, Catherine Martin, may be left to the Gaeltacht, but she already has many responsibilities.
Taoiseach Micheál Martin told the Dáil last night that Brian Cowen had been sacked as minister over controversy over the news that he was banned from driving for three months in 2016 for driving while intoxicated.
Barry Cowen said he was “disappointed and surprised” by the Taoiseach’s decision.
It is reported that Micheál Martin asked Cowen to resign but he refused to do so.
The Taoiseach said there were new questions to be answered about the case since it emerged that the Gardaí had a file alleging that Cowen had tried to avoid a checkpoint.
In a statement posted on Twitter last night, Barry Cowen said he had informed the Taoiseach of all the facts surrounding the incident.
Barry Cowen has already apologized for the incident, but has strongly denied any attempt to avoid a checkpoint.
“Unfortunately, the Taoiseach’s decision to remove me, although he supported me in the Dáil this afternoon, has undermined my right to a fair trial and a fair process,” said Cowen last night.
Martin told the Dáil that it was left to other members of government to address the “new questions” about the situation because Cowen was unwilling to make a public statement. The Taoiseach said the controversy was distracting the government from its work.
Foreign Minister Simon Coveney last night admitted that the situation had “harmed” the Government.