* Architects of Ireland's bailout exits retain finance roles
* Coalition to publish new statement of priorities
* Ireland nominates environment minister to EU Commission
(Adds details, quotes)
By Padraic Halpin
DUBLIN, July 11 Ireland's Prime Minister Enda
Kenny retained his finance and public spending ministers on
Friday, limiting any disruption to Dublin's deficit-cutting
plans from a cabinet reshuffle that followed bruising mid-term
A backlash at local and European elections over austerity
cuts cost Deputy Prime Minister Eamon Gilmore his job as leader
of the junior coalition Labour Party in May and led to more
changes on Friday as Kenny tries to revive the parties'
As expected, the cull did not extend to Finance Minister
Michael Noonan and Spending Minister Brendan Howlin who have
helped regain investor confidence after a crushing financial
crisis and put the country's finances back on track.
"In these very difficult years for our country we haven't
got everything right. In the circumstances, I believe no
government could," Kenny told parliament, adding that a new
statement of priorities would be published shortly.
"Many more people are not yet experiencing the upturn. The
new ministers will make sure that the recovery, for which people
sacrificed so much, reaches every family in Ireland."
While the Fine Gael/Labour coalition guided Ireland out of
an international bailout last year and is seeing increasing
signs of economic recovery, the benefits are not being felt by
many voters, particularly those in Labour's core support base.
The centre-left party, which elected Joan Burton as its new
leader last week, replaced three of its five ministers in the
reshuffle, keeping Burton and Howlin.
Kenny, whose centre-right Fine Gael party slumped to second
place in the local polls, changed two of his ministers in the
15-member cabinet. One of the vacancies resulted from the
nomination of environment minister Phil Hogan to become an EU
A number of portfolios also changed hands among current
members of the cabinet.
Kenny needs the support of Labour to push through a final
package of tax hikes and spending cuts to bring an end to eight
years of austerity in October's budget and Burton has pledged to
stick to EU-imposed deficit reduction targets.
However she has consistently said that austerity has reached
its limits and while positive recent data means - according to
Howlin this week - that the cuts won't be anything like the 2
billion euros envisaged, risks remain over the coming months.
"While Ireland has regained the trust of the markets, the
issue of credibility of government policy nonetheless remains
important and the retention of these two key ministers prevents
any diminution of that confidence," said Eoin Fahy, chief
economist at Kleinwort Benson.
"But I wouldn't be entirely sanguine until a little time
passes because reshuffles have a tendency to be mishandled.
These are two big boxes ticked but disaffected backbenchers or
people who weren't promoted could start making the usual
rumblings that occur when their party is unpopular."
(Editing by Andrew Heavens)