Tuesday 23 January 2018

Kehoe 'humbled' by new junior minster position

By Esther Hayden

Fine Gael Deputy Paul Kehoe will keep his seat at the cabinet table in the newly formed Government.

Last Friday Deputy Kehoe saw his steadfast loyalty to An Taoiseach Enda Kenny rewarded with a seat at the new cabinet table in a super junior ministry capacity.

The outgoing Chief Whip was announced as the new Minister of State at Departments of the Taoiseach and Defence with Special Responsibility for Defence.

He is one of two Super Junior Ministers with Independent Finian McGrath also being announced as the new Super Junior Minister with Responsibility for Disabilities.

Speaking after his appointment Deputy Kehoe said he was delighted with his new role.

'I was extremely humbled to be asked by An Taoiseach, Enda Kenny, to serve in the new Government. Having spent the last five years in Government as Minister of State for Defence and Government Chief Whip, I am a very proud Wexford man to be returning to the Cabinet table. Being asked to serve again shows the value of my work over the last number of years and I am delighted that my work has been recognised with this significant promotion.

'I look forward to dedicating myself full-time to the business of defence. My predecessors in Defence Ministers Simon Coveney and Alan Shatter have led the department with great dedication and I am excited to be taking up the mantle now. The men and women of the Irish Defence forces represent Ireland with courage, valour and fortitude wherever they are asked to serve and I look forward to working with them all to ensure that they are provided with the resources and support to continue to play their part in our continued prosperity, security and international reputation

'I have had the benefit of working closely with the department and observing the excellent work of the defence forces in my role in the last Government.

'Of course, there is so much more to the work of the Defence Forces. This was seen in the contribution to the flood response at home as well as in overseas missions in troubled parts of the world. The L.E. Roisin is just one taking up station in the humanitarian response to the migrant crisis in the Mediterranean.

'With the budget of €900 million, I will be working to ensure the ongoing modernisation and reform of the Defence Forces to ensure that they continue to be trained and equipped to deliver on all of their roles. There is a big programme of work on Human Resources and on the procurement of new equipment and capital investment. As with the public service generally, there are challenges in attracting and retaining the full range of skills. We also have an ambitious recruitment campaign underway with a particular emphasis on increasing the number of women in the Defence Forces.

'The formation of the new government has been a difficult process, but we have now formed a government representative of the wishes of the people.'

Wexford People

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