Minister of State at the Office of Public Works, Kevin ‘Boxer’ Moran, has vowed to prioritise Athlone’s flood relief plan and to do his utmost to announce a programme of works inside the next 10 weeks.
Deputy Moran and his Independent Alliance colleagues held meetings with new leader of Fine Gael and prospective Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar, this week during which the Alliance discussed the continued implementation of the Programme for Government and their own individual priorities for the coming months.
Speaking on Wednesday this week, Minister Moran spoke of a positive meeting and described Varadkar as being “full of energy” for the job at hand.
“We set our stalls out,” Minister Moran said. “We said we are not interested in renegotiating the Programme for Government and there are several aspects of it that we need fast-tracked.
“The biggest ones for me personally are flood defences and my two Bills on housing and increased sentences for repeat sex offenders, which I would like to get through before the summer.”
Minister Moran said that the Fine Gael leader seemed receptive to his wishes, particularly in relation to flooding.
“I am happy to say it is something he is interested in,” Minister Moran commented. “Athlone will be to the forefront when it comes to flooding, because we know how the people have suffered. But it’s not just about Athlone, it’s about the rural areas as well, they need to be looked after.”
Other issues raised during the meeting include the introduction of an air ambulance for the west of Ireland and the Midlands; mental health and disabilities; housing; transport infrastructure; Defence Forces pay; tourism; insurance; the rollout of the Greenway strategy; and the eradication of the Universal Social Charge (USC ).
Delivering on policy commitments is now at the forefront of Minister Moran’s plans.
“I don’t want people to remember me as a bad Minister, I want them to say I was a good Minister, and the only way to do that is to keep working hard and delivering on the projects,” he concluded.