Minister 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 that 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 role of a Minister of State is similar to that of a Minister of State (or "junior minister") in the Government of the United Kingdom. It is not equivalent to that of a United Kingdom Secretary of State, who holds a cabinet-level post corresponding to that of a Government Minister in Ireland.
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 1922 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.
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. 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; Finian McGrath, Independent TD who is Minister of State for Disability; and Mary Mitchell O'Connor who is Minister of State for Higher Education.
- Ministers of State of the 32nd Dáil 2016–present
- Ministers of State of the 31st Dáil 2011–16
- Minister of State at the Department of the Taoiseach
- Minister of State at the Department of Defence
- Minister of State at the Department of Finance
- Minister of State for Disability Issues
- Minister of State for European Affairs
- Minister of State for Food, Forestry and Horticulture