We need your help now

Support from readers like you keeps The Journal open.

You are visiting us because we have something you value. Independent, unbiased news that tells the truth. Advertising revenue goes some way to support our mission, but this year it has not been enough.

If you've seen value in our reporting, please contribute what you can, so we can continue to produce accurate and meaningful journalism. For everyone who needs it.

Newly appointed Ministers of State alongside Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, Tánaiste Micheál Martin and Green Party leader Eamon Ryan Sam Boal
Junior Ministers

Reshuffle: Two new Fine Gael junior ministers as Frank Feighan and Colm Brophy dropped

Chief Whip Hildegarde Naughton has been given the drugs brief.

LAST UPDATE | 21 Dec 2022

TAOISEACH LEO VARADKAR has unveiled the Government’s Ministers of State today, with Fine Gael’s Jennifer Carroll-MacNeill and Kieran O’Donnell being promoted.

The planned appointments come after a low-key Cabinet reshuffle over the weekend which saw no new faces enter Government but some portfolio swapping with Tánaiste Micheál Martin stepping into Foreign Affairs.

The newest junior ministers, Carroll-MacNeill and O’Donnell, were promoted from the backbenches following the demotion of drugs minister Frank Feighan and international aid minister Colm Brophy.

Carroll-MacNeill, a TD for Dun Laoghaire, will go to the Department of Finance while O’Donnell, a TD for Limerick city, will go to the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage.

Feighan is being replaced in the drugs role by Chief Whip Hildegarde Naughton while part of Brophy’s position is being scrapped overall and replaced by a new Integration role.

There also has been a change in the European Affairs portfolio, with Fianna Fáil’s Thomas Byrne being moved out and replaced by Fine Gael’s Peter Burke, who was previously at the Department of Housing.

Byrne is now set to take up the job of Minister of State for Sport and Physical Education.

Fianna Fáil’s Seán Fleming is being moved from the Department of Finance to Foreign Affairs.

Green Party junior ministers Joe O’Brien, Ossian Smyth and Malcolm Noonan will all remain in place, with O’Brien taking on an additional role as Minister of State for Integration.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said that Ireland faces “major challenges” ahead, including climate change, housing and the war in Ukraine. 

“As I said on Saturday, we are living in an age of emergencies: climate, the war in Ukraine, housing, the cost of living, child poverty. There are also threats to the economy and employment, affecting every community in our country,” he said.

We must treat each challenge as a national emergency and deploy the full resources of the State, the full machinery of Government, to make an immediate and real difference.

“These Ministers of State will play a vital role in that response, and in delivering the remainder of the Programme for Government.”

Kerry Fine Gael TD Brendan Griffin, who had been widely tipped for a role in the reshuffle, said that he was unable to take up a position for “family reasons”.

“It is with regret that I am unable to take on a ministerial position at this particular time due to family reasons. I will continue to carry out my duties as a TD for Kerry with commitment and dedication,” Griffin said in a statement.

“I wish my friend and colleague, An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, every success in his important work for our country and I thank him for considering me.”

Ahead of the announcement this afternoon, Feighan confirmed that he would not be continuing on as a junior minister in a tweet.

“I wish to Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Tánaiste, Micheál Martin for the opportunity to serve as Minister of State with responsibility for Public Health, Wellbeing and National Drug Strategy,” Feighan said.

The Ministers of State appointed today are:

Peter Burke – Minister of State for European Affairs – Fine Gael

012 Peter Burke TD

Patrick O’Donovan – Minister of State for the OPW and Gaeltacht – Fine Gael

Leah Farrell Leah Farrell

Josepha Madigan – Minister of State for Special Education and Inclusion – Fine Gael


Martin Heydon – Minister of State for Research and Development, Farm Safety and New Market Development – Fine Gael

launch-of-governments-e100m-scheme-for-the-agri-food-sector TOM HONAN TOM HONAN

Kieran O’Donnell – Minister of State for Local Government and Planning – Fine Gael

90255985 Laura Hutton / Photocall Ireland Laura Hutton / Photocall Ireland / Photocall Ireland

Damien English – Minister of State for Employment Affairs and Retail Business – Fine Gael

Carers and Home Workers 007

Jennifer Carroll-MacNeill – Minister of State for Financial Services, Credit Unions and Insurance – Fine Gael

Jennifer Carroll MacNeill

Anne Rabbitte – Minister of State for Disability – Fianna Fáil


Seán Fleming – Minister of State for International Development and Diaspora – Fianna Fáil

657Retail Banking Reviews

Mary Butler – Minister of State for Mental Health and Older People – Fianna Fáil

Carers and Home Workers 010

Thomas Byrne – Minister for State for Sport and Physical Education – Fianna Fáil

Thomas Byrne 001 Leah Farrell Leah Farrell

Niall Collins – Minister of State for Skills and Further Education – Fianna Fáil

0866 Covid 19 Dail Leah Farrell Leah Farrell

James Browne – Minister of State for Law Reform and Youth Justice – Fianna Fáil

bike 117 Sam Boal Sam Boal

Dara Calleary – Minister of State for Trade Promotion and Digital Transformation – Fianna Fáil

Dara Calleary TD794 Sam Boal Sam Boal

Ossian Smyth – Minister of State for Public Procurement and eGovernment, Communications and the Circular Economy – Green Party

012Budget Day

Joe O’Brien – Minister of State for Community Development and Charities, Integration – Green Party

051Budget Day

Malcolm Noonan – Minister of State for Heritage and Electoral Reform – Green Party

0414 Housing For All

Readers like you are keeping these stories free for everyone...
A mix of advertising and supporting contributions helps keep paywalls away from valuable information like this article. Over 5,000 readers like you have already stepped up and support us with a monthly payment or a once-off donation.

Tadgh McNally & Christina Finn
Your Voice
Readers Comments
This is YOUR comments community. Stay civil, stay constructive, stay on topic. Please familiarise yourself with our comments policy here before taking part.
Leave a Comment
    Submit a report
    Please help us understand how this comment violates our community guidelines.
    Thank you for the feedback
    Your feedback has been sent to our team for review.

    Leave a commentcancel