Deputy Kevin ‘Boxer’ Moran has said that the drawn-out process of forming the new Government was a testing experience, but worth it in the end.
“A priest said to me this morning that it will be written into the history books how long it took to form a Government,” Deputy Moran joked. “All the talks that took place over nine weeks was no problem, but the last five days before the vote were the hardest of my life. The adrenaline, you’re not sleeping, you’re tired and not tired at the same time.
“I had to look at every document in front me and see that the wording suited what I want for Longford-Westmeath, so that is what delayed the talks. Sure, it did get hostile at times amongst ourselves, the negotiating teams, between advisers, but in the end we got a lot in that we wanted to get in and so we are fairly happy.
Reflecting on the discussions that have taken place, Deputy Moran said that he is broadly content with the outcome, especially when it comes to the advantages that will be gained on a local basis.
“For the constituency at large, we had a lot of interviews behind closed doors with the OPW, people in relation to defence, greenways, roads, schools, and rural areas. Some things we could secure and others we could not. We were hoping to re-open the 4th Western Brigade in Athlone but it wasn’t to be, I couldn’t negotiate any stronger terms.
“But we do have a big investment coming to the barracks and the barracks is firmly named in the programme for government, something that has never happened before. There is a large sum of money coming to the barracks at the end of this year or the beginning of next and that is signed off on.
“We set a lot of money aside for rural towns - they have been in decline for a number of years now so we need to invest money into those towns and they will have an input as to what that money is spent on.
“Flooding of course is a very important issue for me. I can tell people that they will see work on the ground by the end of this year. We are going to get the proper forecasting system in place. It is going to cost three million and people will be trained to use it. We will have a large sum of money to spend and it is a key focus for me.”
Deputy Moran says his life has changed dramatically since his election: “I am in there now and the whole world has changed. The hours are very long but I am not complaining, I want to get a grip on what I am doing as quickly as possible. I am opening my office on May 21, Saturday week, and people can contact me by phone or email. It is all guns blazing in terms of what is happening. Of course I have never been in Government before so it is all a changing game to me - you’re learning what you do, and don’t do, as you go, but these are exciting times.”