Fianna Fáil Front Bench

Fianna Fáil is the second largest political party in the Oireachtas. On 12 April 2011 party leader Micheál Martin appointed his second front bench, consisting of all 20 of the party's Teachtaí Dála (TDs) and one local councillor, to be spokespersons on areas corresponding to the various government departments. This was the second front bench appointed by Martin in 10 weeks: on 31 January 2011 he had appointed a team of TDs, senators, councillors and Fianna Fáil election candidates as party spokespersons on different issues in advance of the 2011 general election campaign.[1]

In that campaign six sitting front bench TDs, including the deputy leader Mary Hanafin, were not re-elected. Positions also reflected the restructuring of government departments by the incoming Fine Gael-Labour Party coalition.

In May 2016 Martin announced his third front bench.


Fianna Fáil is the largest opposition party in the Dáil and therefore that party's leader takes the title Leader of the Opposition, a largely nominal role. The other parties that occupy the opposition benches include Sinn Féin and the United Left Alliance.

The "Official Opposition" is viewed as the party tasked with keeping the government in check. It is also generally viewed as the alternative government. The Official Opposition maintains a Front bench of TDs that often have the same portfolios as actual ministers. They are known as opposition "spokespersons".

The title of "the Opposition" is held by the largest party in Dáil Éireann which is not in government, and sometimes the Opposition may even be the largest party in the Dáil. The latter situation almost always occurred when Fianna Fáil were in opposition. This is due to the existence of the multi-party system where Fine Gael usually forms a coalition with the Labour Party.

Official Opposition Years
Labour Party1922–1927
Fianna Fáil1927–1932
Cumann na nGaedheal1932–1933
Fine Gael1933–1948
Fianna Fáil1948–1951
Fine Gael1951–1954
Fianna Fáil1954–1957
Fine Gael1957–1973
Fianna Fáil1973–1977
Fine Gael1977–1981
Fianna Fáil1981–1982
Fine Gael1982
Fianna Fáil1982–1987
Fine Gael1987–1994
Fianna Fáil1994–1997
Fine Gael1997–2011
Fianna Fáil2011–

Fianna Fáil Front Bench 2016-present

Dáil Éireann

See also: Dáil Éireann, Members of the 32nd Dáil

Portfolio [2] Name
Leader of Fianna Fáil
Leader of the Opposition
Micheál Martin TD
Opposition Chief Whip Michael Moynihan TD
Agriculture, Food and the Marine Charlie McConalogue TD
Arts and Heritage Niamh Smyth TD
Children and Youth Affairs Anne Rabbitte TD
Communications, Environment and Natural Resources Timmy Dooley TD
Defence Lisa Chambers TD
Disability Margaret Murphy O'Mahony TD
Dublin John Lahart TD
Education and Skills Thomas Byrne TD
Housing, Planning and Local Government Barry Cowen TD
Finance Michael McGrath TD
Foreign Affairs and Trade Darragh O'Brien TD
Health Billy Kelleher TD
Regional Development, Rural Affairs and the Gaeltacht Éamon Ó Cuív TD
Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Niall Collins TD
Justice and Equality Jim O'Callaghan TD
Mental Health James Browne TD
Public Expenditure and Reform Dara Calleary TD
Social Protection Willie O'Dea TD
Transport, Tourism and Sport Robert Troy TD

Seanad Éireann

See also: Seanad Éireann, Members of the 25th Seanad
Portfolio Name
Seanad Group Leader
Social Protection
Senator Catherine Ardagh
Seanad Deputy Group Leader
Foreign Affairs, Irish Overseas and the Diaspora
Senator Mark Daly
Agriculture, Food and the Marine Senator Paul Daly
Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Senator Aidan Davitt
Rural and Regional Affairs Senator Brian Ó Domhnaill
Education Senator Robbie Gallagher
Finance Senator Gerry Horkan
Justice, Children and Youth Affairs Senator Lorraine Clifford-Lee
Communications, Environment and Natural Resources Senator Terry Leyden
Housing, Planning and Local Government Senator Jennifer Murnane-O'Connor
Without portfolio Senator Denis O'Donovan
Health and Mental Health Senator Ned O'Sullivan
Transport, Tourism and Sport Senator Dr. Keith Swanick
Public Expenditure and Reform and Defence Senator Ned O'Sullivan

Fianna Fáil Front Bench 2012-2016

Portfolio Spokesperson[3]
Leader of the Opposition,
Spokesperson on Northern Ireland
Micheál Martin
Agriculture and Food, and Community Affairs Éamon Ó Cuív
Children Robert Troy
Communications, Energy and Natural Resources Michael Moynihan
Constitutional reform, Arts and Culture, Defence and Party whip Seán Ó Fearghaíl
Education and Skills Charlie McConalogue
Environment and Local Government Barry Cowen
Finance Michael McGrath
Foreign Affairs and Trade and Border Region Development Brendan Smith
Health Billy Kelleher
Horticulture and Rural Affairs Séamus Kirk
Housing, Planning and Gaeltacht Affairs Michael Kitt
Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Dara Calleary
Justice and Equality Niall Collins
Marine and Fisheries John Browne
Public Expenditure and Reform Seán Fleming
Small Business and Regulatory Framework John McGuinness
Social Protection and Social Equality Willie O'Dea
Transport, Tourism and Sport Timmy Dooley
Mental Health and Special Needs Colm Keaveney

See also



    External links

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