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The wait goes on: Cabinet reshuffle may not be announced until Friday

More talks between the Taoiseach and the new Tánaiste took place this evening and are ongoing.

Joan Burton and Enda Kenny have more talking to do.
Joan Burton and Enda Kenny have more talking to do.
Image: Photocall Ireland

Updated 10.45pm 

THERE IS STILL no deadline for a Cabine reshuffle despite expectations that it would be announced today.

Discussions between the Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Tánaiste Joan Burton over the government’s agenda for the months ahead are ongoing. The Fine Gael and Labour leaders met this evening for further talks and this will continue over the next number of days. 

This evening’s usual weekly meeting of the Labour parliamentary party was suspended until tomorrow. However, Fine Gael’s went ahead as planned.

Discussions between Kenny and Burton have been taking place since Monday.

Government sources have stressed that while there is “no problem” there is work still to be done ahead of the expected announcement of a new set of priorities for the coalition and a reshuffle of the Cabinet.

A source close to the talks said that there is “no particular rush” to get things signed off on, adding that normal government as well Dáil and Seanad business has prevented Kenny and Burton from holding further talks today and yesterday. 

The two party leaders are said to be largely agreed on a policy document that will be launched when the reshuffle is announced. It is being circulated to policy advisors for their input.

Some of its provisions could have budgetary implications which means that the high-powered Economic Management Council – consisting of the Taoiseach, Tánaiste, and two finance ministers – would meet to endorse the document.

Kenny and Burton have been meeting alone for several hours over the last two days with discussions focussing on the coalition’s agenda and what policies will be pursued over the remaining lifetime of the government.

There were a total of five hours of talks on Monday with further talks yesterday. Talks today have been hampered by the pair’s commitments in the Dáil and Seanad.

Though much focus and attention is on the imminent reshuffle of ministers it has not featured prominently in discussions so far. Government ministers have not yet been notified individually if they are on the move to another portfolio.

One area of contention is the Jobs portfolio currently held by Fine Gael’s Richard Bruton. Labour are believed to want the role to help regain a measure of popularity for the electorate, but Fine Gael will be loathe to let it go.

Once deliberations conclude it is expected there will be a formal announcement to the Dáil of the new composition of the Cabinet.

Once the new Cabinet is announced to the Dáil the Ministers – both newly-appointed and reassigned – will travel to the Áras to receive their ministerial seals from the President.

- additional reporting from Paul Hosford

First published 7.34am 

Read: Just the two of us: Enda Kenny and Joan Burton are back in talks tonight… alone

Read: Here are the 9 things you need to know about the imminent Cabinet reshuffle

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About the author:

Hugh O'Connell

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