31 January 2024
By Bryan McCarthy
Fianna Fáil leader and Tánaiste Micheál Martin has appointed Cork South West TD Christopher O’Sullivan as the party spokesperson on Coastal Communities. The position will see Deputy O’Sullivan covering areas such as coastal tourism, coastal infrastructure and fishing.
The Tánaiste said: “This appointment makes sense, Christopher, since his election to the Dáil has been one of the most vocal promoters of all things coastal and it’s clear that he has a passion for tourism as well as the fishing sector. This will complement his role as spokesperson on Climate Action and Biodiversity.”
In accepting the role Deputy O’Sullivan said: “This is a huge honour for me, even during my years as a Councillor, coastal infrastructure was something that was always on the agenda. We have some of the most terrific harbours and inlets as well as coastal villages and towns in west Cork, and we need to protect our marine infrastructure.
“I see this role as an opportunity to highlight the fact that our coastal communities need investment. They need more investment on improving piers, slipways and pontoons which I feel would greatly benefit coastal tourism, marine tourism activities as well as facilities for both the inshore sector and larger fishing boats.
“We need to build on the incredible work already being done, particularly with the BALAMI projects which have secured funding recently. I see my new role as away of supporting this work.”
Fianna Fáil Councillor, Cillian Murphy, has been spearheading a campaign for Fianna Fáil to appoint a coastal communities spokesperson.
The Clare-based Councillor said: “Having approached my Fianna Fáil party colleagues Deputy Christopher O’Sullivan and Deputy Cathal Crowe with the concept, the first step in our view was the need for a government spokesperson to cover coastal communities and their sustainability.
“Many of the issues, opportunities and challenges those of us who live and work in coastal communities face are similar, but we have struggled sometimes to have these addressed in a meaningful way, due to the lack of a specific forum or a representative body drawn specifically from those communities with a population of almost 1.3 million people.”
Deputy O’Sullivan concluded by saying: “I am looking forward to working with colleagues to further highlight the opportunities in coastal locations. Ireland has an opportunity to become a world super power in terms of renewable energy for example, and much of that will be offshore. It’s important when we have large companies investing millions in Ireland that coastal communities see the benefits.”