Ireland appoints new energy minister

New minister: Alex White to head energy ministry

Ireland’s energy minister Pat Rabbitte has been dropped from his ministry and replaced by Alex White in a cabinet reshuffle announced in Dublin on Friday.

Rabbitte told Irish broadcaster RTE he was “disappointed but not surprised” by the widely-rumoured decision, which he put down to “a mix of age and chemistry”.

He remains a member of parliament and has said he has yet to decide whether to stand for re-election.

The reshuffle followed the election of Joan Burton to replace Eamon Gilmore as the leader of the Irish Labour party, which is the junior member of a coalition government with centre-right party Fine Gael.

A former television producer and qualified lawyer, White will take over the Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources just weeks after his predecessor unveiled plans to raise the top rate of tax on new oil & gas fields to 55%.

It is not known if the change of minister will affect the tax increase plans, which were approved by the previous cabinet and debated in Ireland’s parliament earlier this month but have yet to be implemented.

The fate of junior energy minister Fergus O’Dowd, who presided over many of the oil & gas sector functions of the department, is not yet known as the junior ministries have yet to be fully announced.

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