Deputy Kevin ‘Boxer’ Moran will assume the role of Minister of State at the Office of Public Works (OPW ) in 12 months time, as had been widely predicted among political commentators.
Boxer will share the Minister of State role with Galway TD Sean Canney, who will take the reins for the opening year of office.
The OPW is the leading State body directing and implementing Government policy in relation to the management of flood risk throughout the country. The role appears made for Deputy Moran, whose rise to national political prominence was greatly aided by his work with and for those affected by flooding of the River Shannon.
Speaking about the appointment, Fine Gael Councillor, John Dolan, said: “It is always welcome to have a Minister of State from the constituency. I have a common interest with Boxer in trying to sort out our flooding problems and I hope he can bring some common sense to that issue. I am sure we can count on him to try and sort the problems with the Shannon. The office was pretty much made for him and I would like to wish him the best of luck in his new role.”
Independent Councillor Michael O’Brien said: “As a colleague I am delighted for him. I have been working closely with him since I got elected and I think he is a tremendous public representative. He has a lot he can bring to the table, particularly in the brief he will take up in the OPW with a special responsibility for flooding. I know he has a lot of good ideas and he will work with the present Minister Sean Canney for the betterment of Athlone and the surrounding areas.”
Fianna Fáil Councillor, Aengus O’Rourke, said the appointment is a “very relevant portfolio” for Athlone. “We all know the flooding difficulties Athlone has been experiencing,” he said. “Although he may not take office for 12 months, I am sure he will be working immediately with Sean Canney to provide certainty to those affected by flooding that the appropriate investment will be made down the line and that we have a local focus on what needs to be done.”
Independent Councillor Ailish McManus called it a “fundamental ministry” for Boxer in terms of its association with flood management. “The people of Longford- Westmeath can certainly resonate with what is required at this level and I know from talking with Boxer that he is immensely aware of the responsibility resting with him,” she said. “I have no doubt that he will carry out his duties to the very best of his ability and I wish him every success in his endeavours.”
Deputy Moran is one of 18 Ministers of State appointed by Taoiseach Enda Kenny, just two short of the record number appointed by former Fianna Fáil Taoiseach, Bertie Ahern.