Connick: I can make a difference

TD SEÁN CONNICK 'ELATED' AFTER HIS PROMOTION TO MINISTER OF STATE

Conor CULLEN

DEPUTY Sean Connick – pictured left – became a Minister yesterday (Tuesday) and pledged that he would 'make a difference' to the lives of people in throughout County Wexford and the South East.

The New Ross Fianna Fail TD has been appointed Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food by An Taoiseach Brian Cowen, as part of the Cabinet reshuffle. Deputy Connick said he 'genuinely didn't see it coming' when summoned by the Taoiseach to be given the good news. 'I HAVE no doubt I can make a difference,' pledged Sean Connick yesterday (Tuesday), as he was promoted to Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food.

The Fianna Fail TD from Rosbercon was promoted to the position of Minister of State by An Taoiseach Brian Cowen, along with two Green deputies, Ciaran Cuffe from Dún Laoghaire and Carlow's Mary White.

'I'm feeling great – I'm elated at the moment,' said Mr Connick, speaking from his Leinster House office. 'It's absolutely great and I'm delighted with the honour that has been bestowed on me by the Taoiseach.'

'There's a huge personal amount of satisfaction in this for me, for my family and my close supporters. But it's also great news for the people of Rosbercon, New Ross and Co Wexford,' he said. 'I'm a really proud New Ross person, I've always been and it's stood to me,' said Mr Connick, who likened the news of his promotion to winning an All-Ireland.

Mr Connick said he 'genuinely didn't see it coming' when summoned by the Taoiseach to be given the good news yesterday. 'I felt myself it had passed me by, because I thought the Greens would get their two seats obviously and 22 new Fianna Fáil TDs came in last time, while there's a lot of capable TDs who have been on the back benches for some time,' he said.

Mr Connick has been appointed as Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, the post vacated by Clare TD Tony Killeen, who is the new Minister for Defence.

This will see the New Ross TD taking on a vital role in areas such as the Marine and quite possibly in relation to the horse and greyhound industries.

Mr Connick said last night that his duties will become clearer in the coming days.

The recent announcement of the Cabinet reshuffle had put Mr Connick firmly in the frame for promotion as he had impressed the Fianna Fail party's hierarchy with his performance as a TD since his election in 2007 and, particularly, due to the fact that the South East was going to be left without a Minister, senior or junior, following Martin Cullen's decision to retire.

The Waterford man's departure left the door ajar for Mr Connick to enter the ministerial ranks as he was seen as the highest profile Government candidate in the region, with Deputy John Browne, from Enniscorthy, having lost his long-held post as a Junior Minister during a previous Brian Cowen reshuffle in May 2008.

Mr Connick said that, living in Rosbercon, he is 'well situated' to represent the South East Region as he is on the Wexford-Kilkenny border and close to both Waterford and Carlow.

However, he said he realises there is now a much greater onus of responsibility on him.

He said some of the pressing issues he'll have to tackle are the proposed reduction of the Waterford-based Coast Guard search and rescue helicopter to daylight hours; the cuts facing Wexford General Hospital under the HSE's configuration of services in the region and also trying to get the New Ross bypass project moving quickly.

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