Minister of State (Ireland)

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This article is about the current definition of "Minister of State". For the pre-1977 definition, see Department of state (Ireland).

A Minister of State (Irish: Aire Stáit) in Ireland (also called a junior minister) is of non-Cabinet rank attached to one or more Departments of State of the Government of Ireland and assists a Minister of the Government.

Unlike other government ministers who are appointed by the President of Ireland on the advice of the Taoiseach, with the prior nomination of Dáil Éireann, Ministers of State are appointed by the cabinet, on nomination of the Taoiseach. The title Minister of State is dissimilar and its role is less than that of a Secretary of State in the Government of the United Kingdom.

The post of Minister of State was created by the Ministers and Secretaries (Amendment) (No. 2) Act, 1977 and commenced in 1978, and under the Act a Minister of State may be delegated a power or duty of the Minister of the Government they support. The position was created to replace the post of Parliamentary Secretary, the junior rank of ministers which had existed from 1924 until 1978. In the original act of 1977 the number of Ministers of State was limited to 10, but in 1980 this was raised to 15, and in 1995 it was raised to 17, and in 2007 it was raised to 20. Brian Cowen asked all 20 Ministers of State to resign on 21 April 2009. He re-appointed a reduced number of 15 ministers the following day, when the Dáil resumed after the Easter recess.[1][2]

Super Junior

Some Ministers of State attend cabinet meetings but do not have a vote. The Government Chief Whip automatically attends and starting in the 1990s some governments appointed an additional Minister of State with permission to attend cabinet but not vote thereat. Two were appointed in 2016 upon Enda Kenny's reelection.

The Ministers, other than the Chief Whip are usually described as a "Super Junior" minister.[3] or sometimes more formally as "Minister of State attending cabinet". The current Super Juniors are Paul Kehoe of Fine Gael who is Minister of State for Defence and Finian McGrath, Independent who is Minister of State for Disability.

See also


  1. "Number of junior ministers to be cut". RTÉ News. 6 April 2009. Retrieved 6 April 2009.
  2. "Two new junior ministers revealed". RTÉ News. 22 April 2009. Retrieved 23 April 2009.
  3. "No changes for Noonan and Howlin in reshuffle". RTÉ News. 15 July 2014.
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