By Carmel Hayes
LAOIS TD Brian Stanley has lost his place on the Sinn Féin front bench.
The 2020 general election poll-topper in Laois-Offaly was left out of the 15-strong front bench team announced this afternoon.
A TD since 2011, Deputy Stanley was the outgoing party spokesperson on Agriculture and Rural and Community Development.
It ends a disappointing week for Laois political representation, with the loss of a senior ministry by Deputy Charlie Flanagan (FG) and the absence of a minsterial role at any level for long-serving Deputy Seán Fleming (FF). It remains to be seen whether Deputy Fleming, outgoing chairman of the powerful Public Accounts Committee, is selected for another senior role in the new administration.
While constituency partner Offaly has a plum senior portfolio, with the appointment of Barry Cowen TD as Minister for Agriculture, Food and Marine, Laois is out in the political cold. The nearest the county gets to having a foot in the government’s door is the appointment of Kildare South TD Martin Heydon to a junior ministry in agriculture. Since the boundaries were redrawn, Heydon’s constituency includes a large section of Laois that takes in Portarlington, Ballybrittas and Killenard.
With the announcement of the Sinn Féin front bench this afternoon, Deputy Stanley’s role as party spokesperson on agriculture was taken by Matt Carthy from Monaghan.
The new SF front bench team is:
Mary Lou McDonald – Leader of the Opposition
Pearse Doherty – Finance
Louise O’Reilly – Enterprise, Trade and Employment
Eoin O’Broin – Housing, Heritage and Local Government
Mairéad Farrell – Public Expenditure and Reform
David Cullinane – Health
Kathleen Funchion – Children, Disability, Equality and Integration
Matt Carthy – Agriculture, Food and Marine
Claire Kerrane – Social Protection, Community and Rural Development and The Islands
Donnachadh Ó Laoghaire – Education
Rose Conway Walsh – Higher Education, Innovation and Science
Darren O’Rourke – Climate Action, Communications, Networks and Transport
Martin Kenny – Justice and Equality
Imelda Munster – Media, Tourism, Arts, Sport and the Gaeltacht
John Brady – Foreign Affairs and Defence
Aengus Ó Snodaigh – Gaeilge, Gaeltacht, Culture and Arts
Padraig MacLochlainn was appointed party whip and the Seanad leader is Niall Ó Donnghaile.