Fianna Fail wants rural development ministry in next month’s cabinet reshuffle

FIANNA Fail wants one of its TDs to be put in charge of the Rural Development Department when next month’s cabinet reshuffle, the Irish Sun can reveal.

Taoiseach Micheal Martin is to swap places with Tanaiste Leo Varadkar as part of a deal made when the Coalition was formed.

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Taoiseach Micheal Martin’s party is keen to take over the Rural Development Department in a cabinet reshuffle next month.Credit: PA
Fine Gael's Heather Humphreys is the current rural development minister

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Fine Gael’s Heather Humphreys is the current rural development ministerCredit: PA: Press Association

The Fine Gael leader will leave the Business Ministry with Mr Martin tipped to take up a cabinet post in foreign affairs, education or justice.

This rotation will trigger a reshuffling of the most senior positions with a series of changes expected at Cabinet and junior minister levels.

The Irish Sun understands that Fianna Fail is asking for the Department of Rural and Community Development to be swapped to their side of the Coalition.

Fine Gael’s Heather Humphreys currently serves as Minister for Rural Development and Minister for Social Care.

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However, Mr Martin’s party wants the post of Minister for Rural Development removed from Minister Humphreys so that a Fianna Fail TD can take the job.

A Fianna Fail source told The Irish Sun: “With rural affairs comes a lot of funding schemes for towns and villages that allow the minister to travel.

“There are a lot of ribbon cuttings and we could do a lot of good there in terms of building support in rural communities.

Although no decision has been made on whether Fianna Fail will get the rural development ministry, a party source has suggested that if Mr Martin decides to take the Education job, Norma Foley could be transferred to rural development.

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Former agriculture minister Dara Calleary has also been mentioned as a possibility for promotion to the post as he continues to come back after the GolfGate scandal.

The Mayo TD resigned as agriculture minister after attending a dinner for the Oireachtas Golf Society during lockdown. However, a court later ruled the dinner did not breach Covid guidelines.

Deputy Calleary was appointed Minister of State at the Department for Business earlier this year following the resignation of Robert Troy due to controversy surrounding the properties he rents.

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Heads of government will meet at the end of this month to discuss how the rotation of the Taoiseach’s office will be handled and a possible cabinet reshuffle.

The transfer was due to take place on December 15 but was held up to allow Mr Martin to attend his final EU summit in Brussels as Taoiseach.

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