We in Fine Gael are very fortunate to have an abundance of talent, youth & experience upon which to draw regarding the new Fine Gael front bench.
The challenge is now to capitalise on these talents and ensure that the electorate are under no uncertain terms that we mean business. Fine Gael have returned from the brink following the 2002 election disaster and in 2007, Enda Kenny showed that his approach to rebuilding the party was working. He chose to allow the many members of Fine Gael in Dail Eireann show the electorate their personal expertise and abilities, often putting their ambitions and talents ahead of his own. This is a true sign of leadership.
I believe that this country has had far too many leaders without substance, too interested in lining their own pockets and ensuring that they, rather than their country came first.
Fine Gael at the next election will have the policies, the people and the zeal to ensure that in every town and village, a Fine Gael candidate will be on offer to ensure we can lead this country off the economic rocks and ensure that fair minded and capable politics rules the day.
The announcement by Enda Kenny that my constituency colleague James Reilly TD would be promoted to the coveted position of Deputy Leader came as no surprise. It is good to see the responsibility of this role returning to a Dublin North TD, following in the footsteps of my friend and mentor, Nora Owen.
Since my re-election in June 2009, I have been calling to homes across my electoral area to ensure that Fine Gael will be given the best possible opportunity to return two seats here in Dublin North at the next general election.
The new FG Front Bench:
Enda Kenny Leader / Northern Ireland
Sean Barrett Foreign Affairs
Richard Bruton Enterprise, Jobs & Economic Planning (including public service reform)
Catherine Byrne Older Citizens
Simon Coveney Transport
Deirdre Clune Innovation & Research
Jimmy Deenihan Tourism, Culture & Sport
Andrew Doyle Agriculture, Fisheries & Food
Frank Feighan Community, Equality & Gaeltacht Affairs
Charlie Flanagan Children
Phil Hogan Environment, Heritage & Local Government
Paul Kehoe Chief Whip (with responsibility for political reform)
Michael Noonan Finance
Fergus O’Dowd Education & Skills
John Perry Small Business
James Reilly Deputy Leader & Health & Children, (with responsibility for policy coordination & implementation)
Michael Ring Social Protection
Alan Shatter Justice & Law Reform
David Stanton Defence
Leo Varadkar Communications & Natural Resources
Frances Fitzgerald Leader in Seanad