Don’t replace them
When five Labour ministers left government in January 1987, an election was called and five sitting Fine Gael ministers double-jobbed until the new government came into office after the election.
When six Labour ministers left government in November 1994, Fianna Fáil continued in a caretaker role till late December. Sitting Fianna Fáil ministers took their place until the Rainbow government came into office.
We could be about six weeks till an election (we’ll probably be that bit longer), we’re in a similar situation. It would be farcical to have new people in cabinet. Even if they wouldn’t get ministerial pensions, they would have privilege without responsibility for that time. Nothing would surprise us, and Fianna Fáil are now so long gone that they don’t care about such precedent. But there really is no need to replace Mary Harney, Tony Killeen, Noel Dempsey and Dermot Ahern. Just as Cowen is taking on Foreign Affairs, others should share their jobs from tomorrow. They’ll be gone soon anyway.