Fitzer backs Kenny, but a lot of anger on how Louth has been treated

Politics

Fitzer backs Kenny, but a lot of anger on how Louth has been treated

Taoiseach Enda Kenny is fighting back against the rebel TDs but Louth's Peter Fitzpatrick is not one of them.

Fitzpatrick said this week that he fully supports Enda Kenny and believes he will “make the right decision for Fine Gael and the country when the time is right” but he was very disappointed that Louth did not get any senior or junior ministers or indeed a chairmanship of one of the Oireachtas committees when Enda Kenny formed a government.

Fitzpatrick has not hidden his anger at the way cabinet posts were handed out.

Louth was one of the few constituencies in the country that returned two Fine Gael seats in the general election last February, but when a government was eventually formed, we got nothing.

While Mr Kenny declares that he has “got his mojo” back and poses for press photographers with fist clenched, Fitzpatrick is more concerned about the problems he faces in his constituency.

Even before the motor insurance companies were issued with summonses by the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission, Deputy Fitzpatrick told The Democrat that as a member of the Oireachtas Transport, Tourism and Sports Committee, he will calling for the motor insurance companies to be called before the committee to explain the exorbitant increases in policies.

“Premiums in Louth are among the highest in the country,” he said, “and they are continuing to skyrocket.

“I want the people in the motor insurance companies to come in and explain why and how these loadings are calculated.

The Oireachtas Finance Committee is already holding hearings on why premiums are spiraling out of control and he believes that Minister of State Eoghain Harris who leads the Government's working group investigating insurance costs, will bring in measures to end the days of rip-off insurance.

Incidently, a report by Gocompare.com has found that motorists can save up to €300 by constantly switching from one insurance company to another, and thereby remaining forever a new customer and getting the benefits of that status. So shop around.

As a member of the Oireachtas Transport, Tourism and Sports Committee, Deputy Fitzpatrick also hopes to explore how we can make more of tourism and sporting facilities here in Louth.

The Great Western Greenway in Mayo is a cycling and walking trail which follows the route of the Westport to Achill railway which closed in 1937.

“That greenway in Mayo is second only to Croagh Patrick in the amount of people it attracts,” Deputy Fitzpatrick said.

“We have a greenway on the old Dundalk-Greenore line. It runs from Omeath to Carlingford but it needs to be expanded. And there's no reason why we can't do that.

“It could go all the way to Blackrock.”

And why not? Anything Mayo can do we can do better.

Sport of course is close to his heart.

Last week Dundalk manager Stephen Kenny gave a lift to Dundalk fans whose bus broke down on the motorway.

The fans were on their way to the airport, heading for the club’s Europa League opener against AZ Alkmaar in Amsterdam. The former Louth manager had helped fans had secure visas for Belarus and is proud and delighted with the success Dundalk FC has brought to the town.

And now he wants to see our sporting success developed in other fields.

“There are six athletic clubs in Dundalk,” he said.

“A full international athletic track and walking track would get the community closer together.”

He believes that sport is not just recreational, it is part of the general academic programme.

“There are 5,000 students at DkIT and 80 per cent of them are from Louth.

“I've spoken to the Minister for Education Richard Bruton and invited him to Dundalk to see what is being achieved at the campus.”

“We need to be positive about Dundalk and the county and look at what we have achieved and what more can be done.”