Two Galway TDs have been promoted to new ministerial positions in a cabinet reshuffle by Taoiseach Leo Varadkar this weekend.
The Taoiseach made several new appointments following the surprise resignation of Galway-Roscommon TD Denis Naughten this week.
Deputy Naughten stepped down from his role as Minster for Communications, Climate Action, and the Environment over questions surrounding his conduct in the implementation of the National Broadband Plan.
Galway West TD Sean Kyne has been appointed the government’s Chief Whip and Minister for the Gaeltacht and the Islands.
The Fine Gael TD was the Minister of State for Rural Affairs and Natural Resources.
He is being succeeded in that role by Independent Galway East TD Sean Canney as a result of the reshuffle.
These appointments are subject to the approval of the Dáil and the Cabinet.
Minister Canney was formerly a memeber of the Independent Alliance who supported the government.
During his time with the Alliance he had previously served as Minister of State for the Office of Public Works and Flood Relief.
He left that coalition of Independent TDs in May but has continued his support for the government since then.
Giving him a cabinet position will likely solidify that support as speculation spreads that a general election is likely in the near future.
Minister Canney has said that his priority in government will be to ensure that balanced regional development is delivered for rural Ireland.
The National Broadband Plan that Minister Naughten was in charge of was meant to roll out internet throughout rural Ireland.
It has been riven with controversy as the majority of bidders for the plan has withdrawn, leaving only David McCourt, chairman of Granahan McCourt.
It emerged recently that Minster Naughten has had multiple meetings with Mr McCourt during the procurement process for the Broadband Plan.
Richard Bruton will succeed Denis Naughten as Minster for Communications, Climate Action, and the Environment.
While former Junior Minister Joe McHugh will take over Mr Bruton’s role as Minister for Education and Skills.
Political efforts are now being made by Fine Gael to secure the support of more Independent TDs in order to shore up the minority government.
Independent Galway West TD Noel Grealish said on Saturday that he would provide “necessary support” to the government during this critical phase of Brexit negotiations.