Ballina based Fianna Fáil TD Dara Calleary has been appointed as the new Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine.
The omission of Calleary from the original list of Ministers appointed by the Taoiseach Michaél Martin a number of weeks ago caused major controversy both locally and nationally. Calleary was appointed as the Government Chief whip and as Minister of State with responsibility for Gaeltacht Affairs and Sport
Minister Calleary takes over the position from Barry Cowen TD who was removed from the position by Martin during the week, following a controversy over a drink-driving ban from four years ago.
Calleary was first elected to the Dáil in 2007 and served as a Minister of State for Labour Affairs from 2009 to 2011 in that government under then Taoiseach Brian Cowen.
The Ballina politician held his own in the 2011 general election, holding onto his seat despite massive backlash against Fianna Fáil across the country at the time. He was re-elected in 2016 and again earlier this year - he served as his party's deputy leader from 2018 and as the party's Director of Elections for this year's general election.
There were well wishes to the newly minted Minister from his constituency colleagues on his appointment, with Deputy Michael Ring saying: "I wish to take this opportunity to warmly congratulate Dara on his appointment as Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine.
"I am delighted to see that the Government has addressed the regional imbalance which existed with regards to senior ministerial posts in Government whereby the West of Ireland was left without a Senior Minister. On a personal note, I want to wish Dara and his family the very best of luck and every success as he embarks on his new role.”
Sinn Féin deputy Rose Conway-Walsh said: "My heartiest congratulations to Dara on his successful appointment as Minister for Agriculture. I am delighted for him, Siobhan and the Calleary family. As they say 'what's for you won't go by you'.
"I look forward to working with Dara in a constructive and collaborative manner to secure a better deal for farm families particularly in Mayo and the West.
"It'll be no surprise to him that I will be holding him to account to ensure equity and fairness in farming. This is a critical time for farming. The new CAP Programme presents opportunities for convergence, prices and equity in entitlements. We must grasp these opportunities."
Fine Gael TD Alan Dillon also extended his best wishes saying he looked forward to working with Minister Calleary for the betterment of the farming, fishing and marine communities in the western region.
"Minister Calleary has served the people of Mayo and the West well in the Dáil since 2007 and will be a voice for rural Ireland. I look forward to working closely with Minister Calleary in government on many topical issues at both local and national level," concluded Dillon.