Calleary given roles in Sport and Gaeltacht along with Chief Whip position

Minister of State Dara Calleary

Minister of State Dara Calleary

There were no extra Minister of State positions allocated to any of the TDs or Senators for Mayo by the new coalition Government on Wednesday evening.

Fianna Fail deputy leader Dara Calleary had been announced as the Government Chief Whip on Saturday - a position that sees him sit at the cabinet table with the government; on Wednesday evening then he was also appointed to a Minister of State position and handed extra responsibilities to go with the Chief Whip role, to cover sport and the Gaeltacht. However, following the formation of the new government with Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin as Taoiseach until 2022 in a rotating Taoiseach role over the weekend, the Ballina TD was not appointed to a full ministerial role, as many had been expecting - considering his position as the deputy leader of his party.

Deputy Calleary has been assigned to the newly reconfigured Department of Media, Tourism, Art, Sport, Culture and the Gaeltacht, which is led by Green Party Minister Catherine Martin, as part of his new responsibilities, along with the Department of the Taoiseach for his work as Government Chief Whip.

When the senior government positions were announced on Saturday and Calleary wasn't given a senior ministerial post, the news was greeted with shock around the county, following which it emerged that in the greater western region, no senior cabinet position had been given to any TD from Donegal down to Kerry.

Calleary spoke about his disappointment during an interview on Mid West Radio on Monday where he said, in relation to his meeting with newly appointed Taoiseach Micheal Martin: “We had a very difficult conversation. I told him I was disappointed. I had hoped to lead a department, it had always been my ambition, and it remains my ambition today. It will happen, it will absolutely happen.

“But I am going to take on the job I have been given, and I will be sitting at the Cabinet table. The chief whip has often been called the gate keeper of Cabinet and I will be that gate keeper, and I will be a gatekeeper for the west.”

At the Annual General Meeting of Mayo County Council on Monday the election of a new Cathaoirleach didn't reach the floor for almost an hour as a number of councillors expressed their disappointment and anger that Calleary had not been given a full cabinet position; and that Fine Gael's Michael Ring had not been appointed to the government, while the department of Community and Rural Affairs, he had headed up for the past four years was being folded into another department.

Fianna Fail Achill based Cllr Paul McNamara said that he was "absolutely appalled by the decision". His party colleague Cllr Annie May Reape, who has a very close working relationship with her Ballina colleague, Minister of State Calleary, said: "I am a glass half-full person and we should turn this negative into a positive. I can assure you that Dara is the most talked about person in the media and will be for a long time. There is nothing we can do, it happened. There is a steely tone in Dara's voice to the nation and if he continues this way we will have a strong voice in the west for a long time."

The work done by Deputy Michael Ring during his time as both a Minster of State and a Minster was praised by a number of councillors at the AGM of Mayo County Council, with Fine Gael Cllr Peter Flynn saying that Deputy Ring was 'the best Minister this county ever had' and his party colleague Cllr Gerry Coyle saying that he had texts from Clare to Donegal lamenting Minister Ring's loss from the government due to the work he did across the regions.

Speaking to the Mayo Advertiser this week Deputy Ring said he was disappointed not to get a cabinet position, stating: "There is no point in pretending that I am not disappointed, I am. I served the party well and the country. I have received letters from all over the place in the last while thanking me for what I did during my time in office, not just from Mayo but from all over the country.

"I'm disappointed that the department I headed up is not a stand-alone department anymore, I feel that it should have a stand-alone Minster."

"I topped the poll in Mayo and we won two seats here and I was the first Fine Gael TD elected in the country. I worked hard for all the communities around the country and Mayo and I don't appologise for that."

 

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