The Green Party's John Gormley and Eamon Ryan remained in the Environment and Communications posts respectively, while sole Progressive Democrat Cabinet member Mary Harney remained at Health. The PDs would disband in 2009, but Harney would remain in Cabinet as an Independent TD.
The number of Ministers of State remained unchanged at 20, to which it had been risen the previous year, with some names being demoted and others promoted. The composition of the Ministers of State is interesting - 10 of the 20 posts were given to midlands and Connacht TDs, a reflection of the new Taoiseach's own midlands background. The shift away from Dublin came as a marked change after 11 years of Dublin Central TD Ahern in office.
In 2009, with the economy in recession, Cowen was under pressure to reduce government spending and waste. In particular he faced many calls to cut the number of juinor ministries. This he did on 22 April 2009, bringing the number back to 15.
Further changes came a year later when the resignations of Defence Minister Willie O'Dea (Limerick East) and Tourism Minister Martin Cullen (Waterford) prompted a reshuffle. Two Ministers of State were promoted to Cabinet - Chief Whip Pat Carey became Minister for Community, Equality & Gaeltacht Affairs while Fisheries and Forestry Minister Tony Killeen was promoted to Defence. The Ministers of State were also reshuffled, with the two vacancies filled by Green TDs Mary White (Carlow-Kilkenny) and Ciarán Cuffe (Dún Laoghaire).
general election, from which they emerged with only 20 seats.