WATCH: Limerick's Patrick O'Donovan appointed to junior finance ministry

Newcastle West TD elevated to new post, widely seen as a promotion

Norma Prendiville

Reporter:

Norma Prendiville

Limerick's Patrick O'Donovan 'in line for junior finance ministry'

Patrick O'Donovan with Taoiseach Leo Varadkar in Foynes recently

LIMERICK Fine Gael TD Patrick O’Donovan is to become one of two new Ministers of State at the Department of Finance and Public Expenditure.

The Newcastle West man has been appointed Minister of State at the department of finance and public expenditure, with special responsibility for public procurement.

The move is being regarded as a promotion for O’Donovan who has for the past year or more, been Minister of State for Tourism and Sport.

It is also seen as a boost for Limerick following the stepping down from office of former Finance Minister Michael Noonan.

The announcement has come following intense speculation as to who will be in and who will be out in the list of Ministers of State.

But for Patrick O’Donovan, the call came early this Tuesday morning. And now, after a little over a year as Minister of State for Tourism and Sport, he will move to the more challenging but also more dangerous, Department of Finance and Public Expenditure.

Last week, when he announced his cabinet, the Taoiseach also announced the merging of the Department of Finance and the Department of Public Expenditure. The new minister in charge of that department is Paschal Donohue and in order to “share the load”, the Taoiseach has now appointed two Ministers of State to assist him.

The appointment will inevitably mean Minister of State O’Donovan will have to go out to bat on the big issues for the government from time to time, a role for which he is suited. In the course of the past year, Minister O’Donovan has shown himself as combative and ready to take on critics.

He also displayed a cool head during the controversy over tickets for the Rio Olympics.

The new Minister of State has always paid tribute to former Minister Michael Noonan who acted as his mentor after he was first elected to the Dail in 2011. Patrick O’Donovan has also shared political space with Taoiseach Varadkar.

The pair met during college days and both came up through the ranks of Young Fine Gael, both serving on the national executive with Patrick O’Donovan as chairman. Both were also elected councillor for the first time in 2004.