Fine Gael leader Simon Harris and Peter Burke, during a visit to Mullingar in March 2022.

Hopes high that Burke will get cabinet seat

Hopes are high locally that Minister of State Peter Burke will be promoted to the cabinet by new Fine Gael leader Simon Harris when he is formally appointed taoiseach after the Easter recess.

According to a number of reports in the national media, Minister Burke could replace Helen McEntee as Minister for Justice, one of the most high profile cabinet portfolios.

On Morning Ireland on Monday, the RTÉ political correspondent Paul Cunningham said Minister Burke “looks on course to become a senior minister”, while former Fine Gael minister turned broadcaster Ivan Yates said that the Mullingar native is a sure thing for promotion.

“Peter Burke is a guaranteed future star of the party and someone who is going to be a national figure in politics,” Yates said on his ‘Path to Power’ podcast this week.

Speaking to the Westmeath Examiner, Minister Burke said that while he is in the dark about whether he will be promoted, he is “humbled” that he is being discussed as one of the Fine Gael TDs likely to be given a senior portfolio by his new party leader.

“It is very humbling to see the speculation. Obviously people are speculating because of my record so far, but you don’t know what he has in mind.

“There are two weeks of water to flow under the bridge between now and when the Dáil is reconvened. It’s a very uncertain time for everyone and I really do feel for everyone at this point in time, because no one knows, as far as I can see.

“I think it is everyone’s ambition who goes into politics to serve in cabinet. We all try and serve at the highest possible position to assist our community. I think that’s why we all go into politics.

“If I was asked, I would be honoured, but I am focused at present on European affairs.

“I have seen speculation before [about a promotion to the cabinet] and things didn’t come to pass. You learn in politics to take these things with a pinch of salt.”