It’s official – Enda Kenny is now the leader of Ireland and head of the new government with the biggest majority in the history of the state.
The Fine Gael leader was sworn in as Prime Minister by President Mary McAleese at her residence in Dublin’s Phoenix Park at lunchtime on Wednesday.
Kenny was confirmed as leader and the Labor Party’s Eamon Gilmore as his deputy when the 31st Dail, the Irish parliament, was convened at noon.
Gilmore will also take up the role of Minister for Foreign Affairs in the first non-Fianna Fail led government in 14 years.
Kenny is the 13th leader of the State and has promised an open and transparent government made up of 10 ministers from the conservative Fine Gael with five from the socialist Labor Party.
Fine Gael veteran Sean Barrett has also been confirmed as speaker of the house.
“This government will tell the people what is happening whether the news is good or bad,” promised Kenny as he entered the parliament building, Leinster House.
“There are too few jobs and too many talented people,” said Kenny as bus-loads of his fans arrived in Kildare Street from his native Mayo.
“I look forward to leading this new Government, I did not expect to have such a large majority,” added the new Prime Minister with Fine Gael and Labor holding 113 of the 166 seats between them.
Here is a list of the full cabinet which have been appointed this afternoon:
Tánaiste (Deputy Prime Minister) and Foreign Affairs and Trade – Eamon Gilmore;
Finance – Michael Noonan;
Health – James Reilly;
Agriculture, Marine and Food – Simon Coveney;
Arts, Heritage and Gaeltacht Affairs – Jimmy Deenihan;
Children – Frances Fitzgerald;
Communications, Energy and Natural Resources – Pat Rabbitte;
Education and Skills – Ruairí Quinn;
Enterprise, Jobs and Innovation – Richard Bruton;
Environment, Community and Local Government – Phil Hogan;
Justice, Equality and Defence – Alan Shatter;
Public Expenditure and Reform – Brendan Howlin;
Social Protection – Joan Burton;
Transport, Tourism and Sport – Leo Varadkar;
Chief Whip – Paul Kehoe
Attorney General – Máire Whelan;
‘Super junior’ at Department of the Environment – Willie Penrose.
The new Dail is expected to adjourn until next Tuesday after today’s inaugural meeting when 76 debutant members will take their seat for the first time.
A total of 19 Independents have been elected with 16 of them agreeing to form a technical group which will give them greater speaking rights in the new parliament.
Finian McGrath, Shane Ross and Joe Higgins will share leadership duties for the new Independents but Michael Lowry, Noel Grealish and Michael Healy-Rae have all declined to join the grouping.