New Irish cabinet announced

[update 8 May 2008: Brian Cowen’s new Government can be found here.]

Irish Taoiseach Bertie Ahern named his new Cabinet today:

Brian Cowen – Tánaiste, Minister for Finance (Fianna Fáil)
Mary Harney – Minister for Health and Children (Progressive Democrats)
Mary Coughlan- Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (Fianna Fáil)
Seamus Brennan – Minister for Arts, Sport & Tourism (Fianna Fáil)
Noel Dempsey –  Minister for Transport and the Marine (Fianna Fáil)
Éamon Ó Cuív – Minister for Community Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs (Fianna Fáil)
Willie O’Dea – Minister for Defence (Fianna Fáil)
Mary Hanafin – Minister for Education and Science (Fianna Fáil)
Micheál Martin – Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment (Fianna Fáil)
John Gormley – Minister for the Environment, Heritage and local Government (Green Party)
Dermot Ahern – Minister for Foreign Affairs (Fianna Fáil)
Brian Lenihan – Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform (Fianna Fáil)
Martin Cullen – Minister for Social and Family Affairs (Fianna Fáil)
Eamon Ryan – Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources (Green Party)
Attorney General  – Paul Gallagher SC

Splintered Sunrise has some interesting thoughts on this Fianna Fáil/Green/PD coalition.

Tarawatch has put out an intriguing press release which suggests that Gormley may yet be in a position to reroute the M3 Motorway away from the Hill of Tara. The coalition would certainly look a better deal for the Greens if that prospect materialises:

14 June 2007

‘Political Decision to Reroute M3 May Have Been Illegal’

TaraWatch welcomes the entry of the Green Party into Government, and
accepts the promises made by Trevor Seargent that his party will
continue to work on rerouting the M3 motorway.

TaraWatch has taken legal advice on the prospects of saving the Hill of
Tara from the M3 motorway, in the wake of the failure of the Green
Party to negotiate a rerouting of road, as part of the Programme for

TaraWatch will be requesting an immediate meeting with the new Minister
for the Environment, in order to explore the possibilities for
resolving this M3 dispute out of court.

The final decision on the M3 is a legal, rather than a political
decision, which has to be made by the Minister for the Environment,
under Section 14A of the National Monuments Act 2004.

In April, the National Roads Authority reported the discovery of a new
national monument at Lismullen, found in the pathway of the M3
motorway, to the Minister for the Environment. The Minister immediately
halted work on the site, and began a statutory consultation process
with the National museum, as he was required to under the National
Monuments Act.

The Minister has yet to make the statutory decision, which only he can
make, under administrative law, having regard to the proper planning

There is a strong argument that this ministerial decision would have
been illegal if it were made during political negotiations, rather than
as part of a statutory scheme, and could have opened up the State to
financial liability in an action by the construction company,
SIAC/Eurolink Consortium.

However, the Ministerial decision is still to be made, and the M3 may
still be rerouted, because there would be a provision in the public
private partnership contract which would allow for this.

Vincent Salafia said:

"Because of the discovery of the new national monument at Lismullen,
and the ministerial decision-making process already in train, the
statutory decision to reroute the M3 was in many ways beyond the scope
of the political negotiations for the Programme for Government.

"The M3 decision has yet to be made, and we are optimistic that a
possible Green Minister for the Environment will excercise his
statutory discretion in favour of preserving the national monument
inact, and rerouting the M3, as he is empowered to do.

"Now that the World Monuments Fund has designated the entire Hill of
Tara complex one of the 100 Most Endangered Sites in the World, we are
in a much stronger legal position. But we hope we can avoid lengthy
legal battles, and that the new Minister for the Environment will make
the right decision.

"We will be sending a solicitors’ letter requesting an urgent meeting
with the new Minister for the Environment, as soon as the appointment
is made, in an effort to resolve this matter for once and for all.






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