Galway is unlikely to receive any cabinet or junior ministerial posts under the next government as the county’s four Fine Gael and two Labour TDs lack enough experience.
For most of the last 30 years, Galway has held cabinet positions in various Fianna Fáil and FG/Labour governments, as well as numerous junior ministerial posts. However the next government may not have a Galway based minister as the TDs from the most likely coalition partners lack enough experience at national level.
Fine Gael and Labour are currently in negotiation to form the next government and last weekend Galway voted in favour of these parties electing Brian Walsh, Sean Kyne, Paul Connaughton jr, and Ciaran Cannon for Fine Gael, and Derek Nolan and Colm Keaveney for Labour.
Five of the six TDs are under 40 and none has previously been elected to the Dáil. The only one of the six with previous Oireachtas experience is Dep Cannon, who served in the Seanad.
This lack of sufficient experience at this stage means it is unlikely that any of the six will be appointed a minister. What counts against Dep Cannon is that he was a PD member and former party leader and his appointment over other, longer established, FG members could cause resentment.
Dep Brian Walsh acknowledges that Galway may struggle to get a ministry on this occasion, but says it is still not beyond the bounds of possibility.
“We have a unique set of circumstances in that the Taoiseach will be from Mayo and the Minister of Finance will be from Limerick,” he told the Galway Advertiser. “It is likely that some posts will go to the counties north and south of us and there will be a limited number of jobs available in a coalition.”
Dep Walsh feels that because Galway delivered four TDs - two in each constituency - thus meeting demands from FG HQ, “you would expect some ministerial position to be offered”.
“We should not anticipate a senior ministry to come here,” he said. “I’m not expecting to get any phone call from Enda Kenny on Sunday, but Galway is a major urban centre so I would hope a junior ministry may come here.”
However Dep Walsh said Galway can be confident that it will have a friend in Enda Kenny as taoiseach.
“Enda Kenny has a great affinity for Galway and is a frequent visitor here,” he said. “He is very aware of the issues and problems Galway city and county faces and that will be a positive for us in trying to attract industry and investment.”