Irish leader Enda Kenny has announced Ireland’s cabinet reshuffle and has named a minister of state for the Diaspora, the first time that has ever been done.

Former Minister for the Arts Jimmy Deenihan will now take on the role of Minister for the Diaspora a position Irish expats and Irish Americans have long been advocates for.

Deenihan, a Kerry native was a top class Gaelic footballer before entering politics.

Senator Mark Daly produced the first every policy on this issue which included the need to appoint a Minister for the Irish Overseas and Diaspora.

On hearing the announcement he said “Minister Deenihan's appointment shows the importance of the 70 million people of Irish heritage throughout the world and the challenges that face him include Immigration Reform for the 50,000 undocumented Irish in the United States, working visas to the United States and the forgotten Irish community in Britain.

“I have previously worked with the Minister on the All Party Working Group on Commemorations and look forward to working with him in his new role. I wish him the very best of luck in his new portfolio."

Deenihan, from Lixnaw, County Kerry, has been a government deputy since 1987. From 2002 to 2007 he was the spokesperson on Tourism, Culture and Sport and was appointed the spokesperson for Defence in 2007. In 2011 he was elected Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht.

The cabinet reshuffle will includes Charlie Flanagan as Minister for Foreign Affairs James Reilly as Minister for Children, Alan Kelly for Environment & Housing and Leo Varadakar for Health.

Varadkar, who was formerly the Minister for Transport, will take over as Minister for Health.

James Reilly, formerly Minister for Health, will now take over the Children and Public Health Ministry, with an emphasis on tobacco and obesity.

Labour Party deputy Alan Kelly is the new Minister for the Environment and Housing.

Jan O’Sullivan is the new Minister for Education.

Labour’s Alex Whilte will take up the post of Minister for Communications.

And Heather Humphrey’s will replace Jimmy Deenihan as Minister for Arts, Heritage & Gaeltacht Affairs.

The new ministers will travel to the Áras an Uachtaráin to collect their seals of office on Friday afternoon where they will hold their first meeting as cabinet.

Here’s a full list of Ireland’s Ministers:

Leo Varadkar (FG) - Sport and Transport to Health

James Reilly (FG) – Health to Children

Jan O’Sullivan (Labour) – Housing (super junior) to Education

Charlie Flanagan (FG) – Children to Foreign Affairs

Paschal Donohoe (FG) – Transport

Heather Humphreys (FG) – Arts

Alex White (Labour) – Communications

Alan Kelly (Labour) – Environment and Local Government

Ged Nash (Labour) – Business and Employment (super junior)

Michael Noonan (FG) – Finance

Brendan Howlin (Labour) – Public Expenditure and Reform

Joan Burton (Labour) – Social Protection

Richard Bruton (FG) – Jobs

Simon Coveney (FG) – Agriculture and Defence

Frances Fitzgerald (FG) – Justice

Paul Kehoe (FG) – Government Chief Whip/junior defence minister


Phil Hogan (FG) – out of Environment - now Ireland’s EU Commissioner

Jimmy Deenihan (FG) – out of Arts - now junior minister for diaspora

Pat Rabbitte (Labour) – out of Communications

Eamon Gilmore (Labour) – out of Foreign Affairs

Ruairí Quinn (Labour) – out of Education