Athlone will be better served by having a Minister in government - O’Rourke

Fianna Fáil Councillor, Aengus O’Rourke, has celebrated the news that Kevin ‘Boxer’ Moran will share a ministry in the forthcoming government, for the benefits such a move could bring to Athlone.

Cllr O’Rourke said while there are mixed views out there about whether Boxer Moran should have supported Enda Kenny for Taoiseach, the significance and advantages of having a Minister from Athlone should not be lost in the “should he or shouldn’t he” debate.

While acknowledging people are entitled to their opinions, Cllr O’Rourke said: “If we think selfishly about this as citizens of Athlone and ask ourselves will this town be better off as a result of having a Minister, junior or senior, the answer must be yes.

“It is 14 years since this town had a minister and in my view the town has lost out as a result. It is no coincidence that Athlone saw huge investment in the past when we had a ministerial presence in the town: AIT grew rapidly at that time; the Athlone bypass was developed; the Regional Sports Centre was developed; Department of Education was secured and expanded; the provision of the new CIE bus station; and many other positive initiatives and developments. There can be no doubt but that this town benefited when both Mary O’Rourke and Paddy Cooney served as Ministers in Government.”

Cllr O’Rourke sent his congratulations to Boxer and said he is confident the new Minister can and will do a good job: “I am pleased for Boxer, Michelle and the two boys and for their wide circle of friends, supporters, and relations,” he said. “Having worked with Boxer for seven years on the council I have come to know him as a hard-working committed and enthusiastic public representative. And, despite what people might assume given the cut-throat nature of politics, we get on very well together and work very well together.

“I have no doubt that given Boxer’s 17 years of hard-earned experience on the council and his deep commitment to the town of Athlone, when his turn comes to serve as Minister, Athlone will benefit. Whether this Government lasts long enough for Boxer to get his chance, I really don’t know, but I certainly hope it does.”

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