Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has appointed party colleague and TD for Louth Fergus O’Dowd as Chair of the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Transport, Tourism and Sport – in a move that is hoped could benefit his constituency, and Ardee in particular, in the future.
The Drogheda based TD has previously sat on Committee on Housing and Homelessness, as well as the Joint Committee on Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government. He succeeded Brendan Griffin, who Leo Varadkar named as new Minister for State for Tourism and Sport last month.
Speaking after confirmation that he was to take up his new role as Chair, O’Dowd said, “I am delighted to have been appointed Chair of the Joint Committee on Transport, Tourism and Sport.
“I look forward to working with each individual committee member and will continue to ensure full transparency and accountability from all statutory bodies who are required to come before the Transport, Tourism and Sport Committee,” he said.
O’Dowd joins fellow Louth TDs Peter Fitzpatrick and Imelda Munster on the Joint Committee.
“I will meet with and support the groups and individuals and other professional and voluntary bodies who wish to bring important policy initiatives before the committee for debate and consideration.
“The committee advises on a wide range of legislative, social, economic and financial business and I will aim to ensure that every piece of legislation coming before the Committee is thoroughly examined and debated.”
The issue of the proposed N52 bypass of Ardee has been raised at the Joint Committee before, with local TDs Fitzpatrick and Munster both urging action to be taken on acquiring capital funding for the project.
Lat summer, Munster said told the committee that “Ardee has been ignored when it comes to capital funding for infrastructure for too long. It’s time the government prioritised this project. The people of Ardee have waited long enough.”
Fitzpatrick confirmed later in the year that that Ardee bypass had been made a priority project – but that only means it is next in line for funding and should another already funded road fail to get off the ground, Ardee would be moved up the pecking order. It’s priority status offers no guarantees for the foreseeable future.
“I would like to congratulate my colleague TD for Louth Fergus O Dowd,” Dolores Minogue said. “Though we here in the county were disappointed not to see a Minister in the county, this is great news for all. I look forward to working with him on behalf of the Mid-Louth Area.”
Minogue believes issues such as the Ardee bypass and N2 filter lanes as well as Ardee Castle and sporting facilities can benefit from O’Dowd’s appointment on the Oireachtas committee.