Fianna Fáil Front Bench

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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 Party 1922–1927
Fianna Fáil 1927–1932
Cumann na nGaedheal 1932–1933
Fine Gael 1933–1948
Fianna Fáil 1948–1951
Fine Gael 1951–1954
Fianna Fáil 1954–1957
Fine Gael 1957–1973
Fianna Fáil 1973–1977
Fine Gael 1977–1981
Fianna Fáil 1981–1982
Fine Gael 1982
Fianna Fáil 1982–1987
Fine Gael 1987–1994
Fianna Fáil 1994–1997
Fine Gael 1997–2011
Fianna Fáil 2011–

Fianna Fáil Front Bench 2016–present[edit]

Dáil Éireann[edit]

Portfolio [2] Name
Leader of Fianna Fáil
Leader of the Opposition
Micheál Martin
Deputy Leader of Fianna Fáil
Director of Policy Development
Dara Calleary
Opposition Chief Whip Michael Moynihan
Agriculture, Food and the Marine Charlie McConalogue
Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Niamh Smyth
Children and Youth Affairs Anne Rabbitte
Communications, Climate Action and Environment Timmy Dooley
Defence Jack Chambers
Disability Margaret Murphy O'Mahony
Dublin John Lahart
Education and Skills Thomas Byrne
Housing, Planning and Local Government Darragh O'Brien
Finance Michael McGrath
Foreign Affairs and Trade Niall Collins
Health Stephen Donnelly
Rural and Community Development Vacant
Business, Enterprise and Innovation Robert Troy
Justice and Equality Jim O'Callaghan
Mental Health James Browne
Public Expenditure and Reform Barry Cowen
Employment Affairs and Social Protection Willie O'Dea
Transport, Tourism and Sport Marc MacSharry
Brexit Lisa Chambers

Seanad Éireann[edit]

Portfolio Name
Seanad Group Leader
Employment Affairs and Social Protection
Catherine Ardagh
Seanad Deputy Group Leader
Foreign Affairs, Irish Overseas and the Diaspora
Mark Daly
Agriculture, Food and the Marine Paul Daly
Business, Enterprise and Innovation Aidan Davitt
Rural and Community Development Brian Ó Domhnaill
Education Robbie Gallagher
Finance Gerry Horkan
Justice, Children and Youth Affairs Lorraine Clifford-Lee
Communications, Climate Action and Environment Terry Leyden
Housing, Planning and Local Government Jennifer Murnane-O'Connor
Without portfolio Denis O'Donovan
Health and Mental Health Ned O'Sullivan
Transport, Tourism and Sport Keith Swanick
Public Expenditure and Reform and Defence Ned O'Sullivan

Fianna Fáil Front Bench 2012–16[edit]

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[edit]



  1. ^ "Mary Hanafin named new FF Deputy Leader". RTÉ News. 31 January 2011. Retrieved 31 January 2011.
  2. ^ "Micheál Martin reveals Fianna Fáil frontbench lineup". The Irish Times. 18 May 2016.
  3. ^ "Fianna Fáil reshuffles frontbench". The Irish Times. 12 July 2012.

External links[edit]