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Michael Noonan expects there will be a new Cabinet by Wednesday

The Finance Minister was speaking as the Taoiseach and new Tánaiste meet for five hours to discuss what policies will be pursued by government.

Updated 7.39pm

FINANCE MINISTER MICHAEL Noonan expects that there will be a new Cabinet in place by Wednesday.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny and new Tánaiste Joan Burton also discussed the upcoming reshuffle during a five-hour meeting earlier today.

The pair also focused the coalition’s agenda, and what policies will be pursued over the remaining lifetime of the government.

Talks are due to continue tomorrow morning after Cabinet’s weekly meeting.

Speaking in Brussels, Noonan said that he does not expect dramatic refocusing of the government’s agenda but said he expects issues like social housing will be at the forefront.

On the reshuffle he said that it will be “reasonably significant” because of the vacancies that have arisen in Labour and Fine Gael.

“I’d expect we’ll have a new Cabinet announced by Wednesday,” he told reporters.

He added that he expected the nomination of Ireland’s next EU Commissioner to be part of that process. Fine Gael’s Phil Hogan is widely tipped to take the role ahead of Labour’s Eamon Gilmore

noonan brussels

He was speaking as Enda Kenny and the newly-appointed Tánaiste Joan Burton are meeting at Government Buildings today.

Kenny is meeting Burton for the first time since she was elected as leader of the Labour Party on Friday.

Kenny and Burton have been in contact by phone over the weekend and the Tánaiste sent the Taoiseach a document outlining her position on key issues over the weekend.

She has already prioritised social housing and the establishment of a low-pay commission in the remaining lifetime of this government.

The pair met for preliminary talks with one of the key items on the agenda being the imminent Cabinet reshuffle.

‘Full and frank discussion’

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Tanaiste Joan Burton arrives at Governme Source: Leon Farrell/Photocall Ireland

Speaking on her way into Government Buildings this morning Burton said she expects a “full and a frank discussion”.

“I think we both want the government continue its mandate and we want to chart a pathway to basically a better Ireland,” she said.

Kenny said he is looking forward to meeting the new Tanaiste, saying: ”We have business to conduct on behalf of the country,” he said. “What the people want is a continuation of government that will work in the interests of the people of Ireland.”

“I’ve seen all the wonderful speculation in the last few days I’ve seen at least 10 different Cabinets outlined. What the people want is a government that’s working in the interests of the country.”

There are indications that the reshuffle may not happen until later in the week.

Many reports this morning say that key roles in the cabinet are the main cause of friction between Labour and Fine Gael.

This means tomorrow’s usual weekly meeting of Cabinet will go ahead with the current crop of ministers including ex-tánaiste Eamon Gilmore who remains Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade.

In the reshuffle, RTÉ says that Labour is interested in Enterprise and Employment, with Labour’s new deputy leader Alan Kelly set to take on the important role.

First published 7.15am 

- additional reporting Paul Hosford

Read: Joan Burton is the new leader of the Labour Party

Read: Burton’s social housing promises ‘can’t be more spin’

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Hugh O'Connell

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