Friday, 11 July 2014
Dáil Éireann Debate
Nomination of Members of the Government: Motion
I also wish to inform the House that I am nominating Deputy Phil Hogan as Ireland's next member of the European Commission. I intend to nominate Deputy Ged Nash for appointment as Minister of State attending the Government and Minister of State at the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation with responsibility for business and employment. I confirm to the House that Deputy Paul Kehoe will continue to attend Government as Minister of State in my Department and at the Department of Defence and Government Chief Whip. I also intend to propose to the Government the appointment of Deputy Jimmy Deenihan as Minister of State at my Department and at the Department of Foreign Affairs with special responsibility for the Irish diaspora. Further appointments of Ministers of State will be made by the Government in the near future.
I intend to assign the following responsibilities to the members of Government: the Department of Defence to Deputy Simon Coveney, in addition to his current responsibilities; the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport to Deputy Paschal Donohoe; the Department of Education and Skills to Deputy Jan O'Sullivan; the Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources to Deputy Alex White; the Department of Foreign Affairs to Deputy Charlie Flanagan; the Department of the Environment and Local Government to Deputy Alan Kelly; the Department of Children and Youth Affairs to Deputy James Reilly; the Department of Health to Deputy Leo Varadkar; and the Department of Arts, Heritage and Gaeltacht to Deputy Heather Humphreys.
I thank the outgoing members of the Cabinet for their service during what have been difficult times for our country. Individually and collectively, these former Ministers have played a major part in creating those all-important jobs for our people and in securing Ireland's economic recovery.
I already publically and deeply thanked the former Tánaiste, Deputy Eamon Gilmore. As Tánaiste, over the last three years, he has been outstanding in the service of his country and of the Irish people. As Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, he has been central to restoring Ireland's international reputation, a restoration that has been vital for generating investor confidence and creating jobs.
The Taoiseach: The former Minister, Deputy Pat Rabbitte's, upgrading of broadband infrastructure has seen our country move up the international league table for high-speed connectivity, with all the attendant benefits for business, investment and jobs. Right now, high-speed broadband is being installed in all secondary schools, with plans in place for new investment across 1,100 towns and villages in rural areas.
The former Minister, Deputy Ruairí Quinn's, passion for reform was an outstanding example of a ministerial career in various Governments. He took FÁS and transformed it into a new service for training and further education that will help many jobseekers get back into work. I wish him well in his retirement from politics. He will be missed.
The former Minister, Deputy Phil Hogan, introduced some of the biggest reforms of Government during his tenure that will have lasting benefits long into the future. I refer to such issues as local government reform, the effective banning of corporate donations, new building regulations, a new water service, dealing with ground water pollution from septic tanks and climate change. His record of implementing difficult, but necessary, change will stand to him as EU Commissioner, and I wish him well in his new role.
The former Minister, Deputy Jimmy Deenihan's, tenure began what will be a successful decade of commemorations marking Ireland's path to independence. He made major progress on the inherited and long-ignored issues of protection of the environment, including the national bogs. Here, he negotiated with considerable sensitivity the plan to fulfil our environmental responsibilities while offering good solutions to landowners and turf cutters.
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