Fianna Fáil Front Bench
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.
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.
|Cumann na nGaedheal||1932–1933|
Fianna Fáil Front Bench 2016–present
|Seanad Group Leader
Employment Affairs and Social Protection
|Seanad Deputy Group Leader
Foreign Affairs, Irish Overseas and the Diaspora
|Agriculture, Food and the Marine||Paul Daly|
|Business, Enterprise and Innovation||Aidan Davitt|
|Rural and Community Development||Brian Ó Domhnaill|
|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
|Leader of the Opposition,
Spokesperson on Northern Ireland
|Agriculture and Food, and Community Affairs||Éamon Ó Cuív|
|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|
|Foreign Affairs and Trade and Border Region Development||Brendan Smith|
|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|