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division of labour

It's no longer Alan Kelly's job to talk about Irish Water

Labour has announced its spokespeople – and the troubled utility is no longer part of Kelly’s day job.

BRENDAN HOWLIN’S ANNOUNCED his Labour front bench in the wake of his election to the leadership of the much-reduced parliamentary party last month.

Much of the speculation in the run up to today’s announcement (not that there’s been much of it, outside of the corridors of Leinster House) had focused on what role Alan Kelly, the outspoken former environment minister, would be given.

The Tipperary TD, who had responsibility for Irish Water in the last government, had made no secret of his leadership ambitions in advance of Howlin’s elevation to the top job.

As you may recall, his absence from the press conference announcing Howlin’s victory cast a shadow on proceedings, in the wake of the veteran Wexford deputy’s election.

A slightly-odd tweet from Kelly (below) fuelled speculation that he might leave the party altogether – but he later said he was committed to helping rebuild, in the wake of the disastrous general election result.

The jobs 

Kelly has been vocal on Irish Water since leaving office – most recently appearing on Morning Ireland to double down on his post-election position that Fianna Fáil’s pledge to scrap Irish Water is likely against EU law.

However in the new-look Labour lineup of spokespeople, talking about water charges will no longer be a priority for Kelly. Instead he’s been given the dual role of spokesperson on both health and ‘Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation’.

Instead Jan O’Sullivan, the former education minister, will shadow the minister responsible for Irish Water, Simon Coveney. O’Sullivan will fulfil the role of spokesperson on ‘Children and Youth Affairs’ in addition to being spokesperson on ‘Housing, Planning and Local Government’.

12/5/2016 Water Issues Alan Kelly

The party’s reduction in representation means everyone will be doubling or tripling up in their roles. Senators will also be stepping up to the plate more than usual, as the full list of jobs announced this afternoon shows.

Here’s what the rest of the TDs will be doing:

  • Brendan Howlin: Labour Party Leader; Spokesperson on Justice and Northern Ireland
  • Joan Burton: Spokesperson on the Arts, Spokesperson on Education and Skills; Spokesperson on Finance
  • Willie Penrose: Spokesperson on Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Rural Affairs; Spokesperson on Social Protection
  • Brendan Ryan: Party Whip, Spokesperson on Defence; Spokesperson on Transport, Tourism and Sport
  • Sean Sherlock, Spokesperson on Communications, Climate Change and Natural Resources; Spokesperson on Public Expenditure and Reform

And the Seanad members: 

  • Ivana Bacik: Seanad Group Leader; Spokesperson on Foreign Affairs and Development
  • Kevin Humphreys: Seanad Whip; Spokesperson on Dublin
  • Denis Landy: Spokesperson on Local Government Reform; Spokesperson on Regional Development
  • Gerald Nash: Spokesperson on Equality; Spokesperson on Labour Affairs and Workers Rights
  • Aodhán Ó Ríordáin: Spokesperson on Environment and Sustainable Development, Spokesperson on Gaeltacht Affairs

Read: Power outage: Today was as much about Alan Kelly as it was Brendan Howlin

Read: Brendan Howlin is the new leader of the Labour Party

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