Simon Coveney has finally ended his search for a second special adviser.
Eyebrows will be raised in the political and media bubble around Kildare Street with the news that the Minister for Foreign Affairs will appoint journalist Chris Donoghue to the role. The Newstalk stalwart, who was with the radio station for 14 years, formally handed in his notice this week and is expected to join Coveney’s team in Iveagh House next month.
As word of another high-profile exit from Newstalk began surfacing in media circles in the last few days, there was much speculation that the broadcaster might be moving to the Taoiseach’s office. The 33-year-old Dubliner and Leo Varadkar are long-time friends.
Given that Varadkar and Coveney were rivals for the Fine Gael leadership, confirmation that Donoghue is jumping ship to Foreign Affairs is sure to surprise the Leinster House chatterati. He will join Simon’s right-hand woman and special adviser, Caitríona Fitzpatrick.
In marked contrast to the way Theresa May’s dysfunctional Brexit cabinet seems intent upon tearing itself apart since last year’s chaotic leadership contest, Coveney and Varadkar have put forward a strong and united front as the Government presses the State’s Brexit case in Europe and Westminster.
Donoghue had been presenting Newstalk’s drivetime programme with Sarah McInerney but the show was axed to make way for former Fine Gael minister turned celebrity broadcaster Ivan Yates. Donoghue was then appointed political editor for Denis O’Brien’s Communicorp Group, which includes Newstalk, and given a two-hour show on Sunday morning.