There was further good news for Tipperary on the political front this Tuesday with Junior Minister for Agriculture Tom Hayes keeping his job in the Government reshuffle.
The news follows the elevation of Alan Kelly to Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government in last Friday’s Cabinet changes.
Both TDs told the Tipperary Star they delighted with the outcome.
“It was a special occasion for me to meet the President to get my seal of office,” said Minister Kelly. “It is something I will never forget.”
The Labour Minister said it was also a great occasion for his parents, Tom and Nan; wife Regina and their family, and his wider family.
“My parents made the sacrifices that got me where I am today,” he said.
Both Minister Kelly and Junior Minster Hayes said they were looking forward to working with each other, in what both said were huge departments facing challenges.
“It is the first time that two people from Tipp have held jobs in these departments at the one time. There is great potential for job creation. We have worked well in the past and we are both committed to doing good for the county,” said Deputy Hayes.
Minister Kelly said his department was a “huge department with huge powers right across all of government”, but social housing was going to be his major priority and he will be looking at funding models for building more social housing.
“The previous administration privatised social housing. We are facing a huge social housing crisis. Personally, I am in favour of local authorities building houses, but we will have to have some mix and I will look for a funding model that will work,” he said.
He also picked out the realignment of local government and the environment as other challenges, with planning being another major area in need of reform.
“We need to reassess where we are going with community and rural development and LEADER,” he said.
Deputy Kelly said he will examine the regulations around large event planning such as that for the Garth Brooks concerts to make sure nothing like it ever happened again.
Minister Kelly arrived back in his native Portroe last Friday to a massive homecoming party, and intime honoured tradition marched up the Hill of Port.
“That was the third time for me to march up the Hill of Port,” he said. The forst time was when he was elected to the Dail in 2011, the when Portroe lifted the North Championship and again last Friday.
The Minister, who celebrated his 39th birthday last weekend, also revealed that being a member of the Government was something he had dreamed about ever since he was a teenager.
“I have actualy known Persident Higgins since I was a teenager. People should have dreams because dreams can come true with hard work and luck,” he said.
Meanwhile, Deputy Hayes said it was great to have someone from Tipperary involved in agriculture as the sector was vital to the national economy.
He said he also faced huge challenges with CAP reform and the ending of milk quotas in 2015, which would have a huge impact on Tipperary. Junior Minister Hayes also highlighted the role forestry plays in the economy and pointed out there was huge expansion potential there.
“We have a lot of tree harvesting coming up and that will be bring job potential,” he said.