Third junior minister supports cut in numbers

Junior minister Conor Lenihan has become the latest member of the Government to express support for a reduction in the number of junior ministers as part of moves to rein in public spending.

Reports this morning say the Taoiseach has been annoyed by calls from the Green Party for a reduction in junior ministries from 20 to 17.

Justice Minister Dermot Ahern has also described the suggestion as "facile".

However, Martin Mansergh, Sean Power and Conor Lenihan, who are all ministers of state in various Government departments, say they would be willing to relinquish their roles for the good of the country.

Mr Lenihan says he agrees that the number of junior ministers could be cut from 20, while Mr Power says be believes the figure could be reduced to just 12 without affecting the workings of the Government.

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