Sunday 18 March 2018

Reshuffle could land Howlin Tanáiste role

David Tucker

MINISTER Brendan Howlin could become Tanaiste when Enda Kenny reshuffles his Cabinet later in the year.

According to the Irish Independent, the current Tanáiste Eamon Gilmore and the Wexford Deputy, who is the Minister for Public Expenditure, are set to swap roles.

Commenting on the report, Minister Howlin said he would be privileged to serve in any capacity the Taoiseach chose for him, but made no other comment.

Changes to the Cabinet are not expected until the autumn, but the controversies surrounding Justice Minister Alan Shatter and the gardai have seen support for the Government slip and discussions have taken place as to what changes will happen.

Both Fine Gael and Labour have ruled out a reshuffle that would see government departments being swapped between the parties, meaning Mr Gilmore can only move to a department held by a Labour minister.

On Monday, Deputy Howlin's spokesman, Wexford's Mayor Cllr George Lawlor said a reshuffle 'has not been discussed yet' and he had not heard any reports of the two Departments changing ministers.

'It's the first I have heard of it,' said Cllr. Lawlor.

The Independent quoted one source as saying there was an initial resistance to Eamon Gilmore moving, 'but it has become a stick to beat him. He will move and Public Expenditure is the most likely place as of now'.

The Independent said it has confirmed that Mr Howlin has expressed a willingness to move from his current department to Foreign Affairs.

Minister Howlin could not be reached for comment on Monday.

'There is a feeling that Brendan has done much if not all of the heavy lifting in terms of putting shape on the public finances and beginning the reform of the public sector. He does feel, yes, largely his work is done,' the Independent quoted one source as saying.

Wexford People

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