Enda Kenny reshuffled his cabinet today in the aftermath of disappointing local and European election results in May. While these events generally go un-noticed in Northern Ireland, the appointments made particularly in the Department of Foreign Affairs will have an impact on our daily lives.
So, just who is replacing Eamon Gilmore? Drum roll please……..Charlie Flanagan. Yes, I am sure you’ve never heard of him but Flanagan was previously the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs. He was also first elected to represent Laois-Offaly in Dáil Éireann in 1987.
When it comes to Northern Ireland he is an unknown quantity, he will have to do a great deal of work to improve on the lacklustre performance of this government on Northern issues. Flanagan might well be working with a different British counterpart after the planned reshuffle that is due to take place next week.
Reports indicate that he has hit the ground running with a phone call already being placed to the Northern Ireland Secretary to discuss parades and other issues around the 12th July weekend. It will be interesting to see if he can surprise people and build a higher profile for himself up here than Eamon Gilmore did during his tenure in Iveagh House.
David McCann holds a PhD in North-South relations from University of Ulster. You can follow him on twitter @dmcbfs