Minister of State at the Department of Education and Skills (Higher Education) Mary Mitchell O’Connor with President Michael D Higgins at Aras an Uachtarain, as she received her seal of office on Wednesday, with Taoiseach Leo Varadkar to the right
You might recall Taoiseach Leo Varadkar’s Cabinet reshuffle earlier on Wednesday evening.
As part of this, Mr Varadkar has appointed former Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Mary Mitchell O’Connor to the position of Minister of State with Responsibility for Higher Education.
The Irish Times reported yesterday:
Government sources said the delay in announcing the Cabinet line up was because Mrs Mitchell O’Connor had rejected an offer of a junior ministry in the Department of Justice, with responsibility for equality and law reform. However, it is understood she declined that position and held a second meeting with Mr Varadkar which led to her new role. Sources close to Mr Varadkar said Ms O’Connor “made her dissatisfaction known”.
Ms Mitchell O’Connor’s new role is a so-called ‘super junior’ role – a junior ministry whereby the person can attend Cabinet meetings – and, if passed, will be the third such role.
The two others are Fine Gael TD Paul Kehoe, Minister of State for Defence, and Independent TD Finian McGrath, who is Minister of State for Disability.
The Dáil will have to pass legislation to create the position for Ms Mitchell O’Connor because the law states that the Taoiseach can appoint a maximum of two super junior ministers who can sit at the Cabinet table.
Although Ms Mitchell O’Connor’s role is largely seen as a demotion, it comes with an extra €16,288-a-year allowance on top of her Minister of State salary of €124,439.
It’s being reported that Fianna Fáil and Labour will not support any change in legislation concerning this.
There you go now.
FF to block Mary Mitchell O’Connor appointment as ‘super junior’ (The Irish Times)