Leo Varadkar, said prior to the election that "Putting Micheal Martin back in charge of our economy would be like asking John Delaney to take over the FAI again". With that in mind Leo looks to have got the best out of negotiations with Fianna Fail and despite offering up the office of Taoiseach he's very much still at the helm of this government.
Paschal Donohoe (9th Count) remains on as Minister for Finance and Simon Coveney (8th Count) remains Minister for Foreign Affairs. While as new Tánaiste, Leo takes up the position as Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment. Loyal Simon (15th Count) didn't lose out either, he takes the position of Minister for Higher Education, Innovation and Research. This is the backbone of the economy that Leo didn't want to give up possession of, and with Paschal in charge of the budget it's a wonder what Fianna Fail were negotiating for at all.
Meanwhile accidental Landlord Stephen Donnelly (15th Count) is the new Minister for Health and despite surviving a motion of no confidence in December 2019 Eoghan Murphy has lost out on his position as Minister for Housing to Fianna Fail's Darragh O'Brien (9th Count). So Fianna Fail take on the two most challenging portfolios in what has to be considered a major burden to any political party in a three way coalition.
Michael McGrath (FF 8th Count) gets an appointment as the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform. This will appease many in the party who would see him as a possible contender for leadership if the opportunity arises.
If Micheal Martin has made a tactical move here it is perhaps an effort to rebuild the party's base by attracting more rural votes and recover some former Fianna Fail strongholds. Two factors that would suggest this is the appointment of Barry Cowen (8th Count) from Offaly as the new Minister for Agriculture and Norma Foley (8th Count) from Kerry as the new Minister for Education.
However if Micheal was serious about capturing a rural base he wouldn't have left Heather Humphreys (FG 1st Count) take the portfolio for Social Protection, Community & Rural Development and the Islands. Further proof that Fine Gael got the best of negotiations, with one hand gripping the economy and the other hand caressing rural Ireland. Fine Gael also retain their law and order image with Helen McEntee (9th Count) becoming the Justice Minister, a complex portfolio that will keep her in the spotlight.
On the face of it this is very much a Fine Gael government with Fianna Fail being thrown a bone. Fine Gael have also cleverly outsourced the difficult portfolios and come next election they will be saying Housing & Health were doing fine until FF came along.
The Green Party have also done exceedingly well, capturing three portfolios that most closely align with their objectives. It's no surprise Eamon Ryan (1st Count) negotiated his position as the minister for Climate Action, Communication Networks and Transport. To come away with anything apart from this would be a cardinal sin for the party. In the DreamTeam cabinet I had Eamon Ryan as the ideal Minister for Transport, so standing by this I think this is a really good outcome for the Greens and the country. Hopefully the party can grow with their new found influence.
Catherine Martin (5th Count) who was being encouraged to make a bid for leadership will be Minister for Media, Tourism, Arts, Culture, Sports and the Gaeltacht. This is not only a huge win for Catherine but momentous for the Greens as the party will gain popularity through the distribution of good will grants all around the country.
The Greens third seat goes to Roderic O'Gorman (6th Count) as Minister for Children, Disability Equality and Integration. The department will take on responsibility for Direct Provision which is another issue the Greens have been fighting for a d this will satisfy the party's base if they can introduce necessary reform.
All in all I think the Greens have landed three great portfolios; all focused on progress, Fianna Fail will either triumph or fall over, while Fine Gael have the last laugh retaining the major offices of government.
The government was also supported by 9 independents:
Marian Harkin, Michael McNamara, Noel Grealish, Michael Lowry, Peter Fitzpatrick, Matt Shanahan, Richard O’Donoghue, Verona Murphy and Cathal Berry.