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Frances Fitzgerald is the new Justice Minister, Taoiseach takes over at Defence

Fine Gael party chairman Charlie Flanagan takes over as the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs.

Updated 22.45

FRANCES FITZGERALD HAS been appointed as the new Minister for Justice and Equality.

The appointment of the Children’s Minister to the position follows the resignation of Alan Shatter yesterday after details of the Guerin report in to allegations of gardaí and other state agencies mishandling a number of series allegations emerged.

The Taoiseach has told the Dáil that he will take over responsibilities at the Department of Defence, a portfolio Shatter held, and Charlie Flanagan, the Fine Gael chairman, will be the new Minister for Children and Youth Affairs.

Screen Shot 2014-05-08 at 11.19.41 Michael Noonan, a former justice minister, speaking to the new appointee in the Dáil today Source: Oireachtas TV

Fitzgerald, 63, is a TD for Dublin Mid-West who regained her Dáil seat in the 2011 general election having lost it in Dublin South-East in 2002. She served in the Seanad between 2007 and 2011.

Earlier, Fitzgerald and Kenny were at a youth event in Clondalkin that was arranged prior to yesterday’s dramatic developments.

The Taoiseach confirmed at that event this morning that he had made up his mind about who he was appointing to succeed Shatter.

Speaking in the Dáil, Kenny praised the work of the outgoing Shatter and said that Fitzgerald has made the protection of children “a top priority” in her time at the Department of Children and Youth Affairs.

Kenny said that the “number one priority” of the new minister would be to restore “confidence and integrity to the Irish justice system”.

“I want transparency and accountability in our public service.  It goes to the heart of what we all seek to achieve here in this House daily in representing the Irish people,” the Taoiseach told the Dáil.

Speaking on behalf of the Labour side of the coalition, Education Minister Ruairí Quinn said that it was his “pleasure to support” Flanagan’s nomination to Cabinet.

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Screen Shot 2014-05-08 at 11.08.49 Frances Fitzgerald sat three seats down from the Taoiseach as he announced her appointment in the Dáil today Source: Oireachtas TV

He said that Shatter was a reforming minister and his record will stand for years to come, praising his work.

Fianna Fáil’s Micheál Martin said the appointment of a new minister to the Department of Justice “does not by itself” solve the recent problems, accusing the government as a whole of marginalising whistleblowers and dismissing their concerns.

“It is simply absurd that we are today discussing the replacement of Minister for Justice without knowing anything about the specific information due to which he resigned,” he said.

Martin welcomed the separation of the Defence portfolio from Justice, saying it had been a “failed experiment” and “a complete failure” that has resulted in morale in the Defence Forces being “very, very low”.

Sinn Féin’s Gerry Adams said that the handing of the Shatter resignation and the two garda whistleblowers showed the “unprecedented arrogance” of the current government.

Originally posted 11.10

Frances Fitzgerald: From social worker to Justice Minister

Read: In the end Alan Shatter realised what many already had: He’d become a distraction

About the author:

Hugh O'Connell

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