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Jack Chambers named as new Minister for Finance as Michael McGrath departs for Brussels

Jack Chambers, the recently-announced Deputy Leader of Fianna Fáil, has been named as Ireland’s new Minister for Finance. The announcement was made immediately following outgoing Minister for Finance, Michael McGrath’s government nomination to become Ireland’s next European Commissioner. 

At just 33 years of age, Minister Chambers has been on a rapid political trajectory since he was first elected to the Dáil in 2016 for the Dublin West constituency. He most recently served as Minister of State at the Department of Transport with  responsibility for International and Road Transport and Logistics and at the Department of Environment, Climate and Communications with Responsibility for Postal Policy. Between June 2020 and December 2022, he was Government Chief Whip.  

His appointment to the Department of Finance is the culmination of a highly successful few weeks for him on a personal level. He was the Director of Elections for the party’s local election campaign, which returned the highest number of seats and further retained its standing as the largest party of local government.  The Tánaiste and Leader of Fianna Fáil, Micheál Martin disclosed that Minister Chambers’ performance overseeing Fianna Fáil’s local election campaign had convinced him to appoint Minister Chambers as his Deputy Leader. 

Minister Chambers enters the Department of Finance at a critical juncture, in the midst of preparations for the government’s final Budget – and shortly before the publication of the imminent Summer Economic Statement. His ascension also means that his dual junior ministerial roles at the Department of Transport and the Department of the Environment will need to be filled. Whether this precipitates a broader re-shuffle within the Fianna Fáil junior ministerial ranks remains to be seen. 

Meanwhile, Michael McGrath will undergo the formal ratification process for the role of Commissioner over the coming months, during which he will be subject to scrutiny by the relevant European Parliament committees. What portfolio he is allocated remains to be seen. This will be heavily impacted by the negotiations around the European Commission presidency. While these negotiations are still ongoing, it is expected that Ursula von der Leyen will secure the requisite support for a second term as Commission President. 

For his part, McGrath has certainly intimated that, given his background as an accountant and his tenure as Ireland’s Minister for Finance, he feels that he would be well suited to a financial portfolio. One of the likely outcomes is that Ireland retains the portfolio currently occupied by Mairead McGuinness – that of Commissioner for Financial Stability, Financial Services and Capital Markets. 

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