Hildegarde Naughton has said she is honoured to have been appointed as a Minister of State attending cabinet in the new Government.
The Fine Gael TD, who was one of her party’s senior negotiators during talks on the Programme for Government, assumes the role of Minister of State at the Department of Transport with responsibility for international and road travel and logistics.
She is only the second female Government Minister from Galway since the foundation of the State, and the current Government’s most senior minister in the west of Ireland.
Minister Naughton said her department would play a central role in meeting some of the country’s most-pressing challenges as the new Government gets down to work.
“Aviation is one of the many sectors that has been profoundly impacted by the coronavirus pandemic both domestically and internationally and its future remains to be resolved as the country emerges from its social and economic stasis,” she said.
“Separately, our ports are poised to assume increased importance for trade in the wake of Brexit; and will play a key role in the development of wind energy generation as envisaged in the Programme for Government – particularly on the west coast.”
Minister Naughton said that she will be proud to represent the people of her constituency at cabinet, and has promised to be a voice for Galway West, South Mayo and the broader region in Government.
“This is an extremely difficult time to be entering Government, but Fine Gael has never shirked responsibility when the country has needed leadership at times of adversity, and I am looking forward to meeting the challenges ahead,” she said.
“This Government will be charged with restarting and rebuilding our economy following the devastation of the Covid-19 pandemic. It will also have to forge a new trading relationship with Britain at the end of the Brexit transition period.”
Minister Naughton, who chaired the Oireachtas Committee on Climate Action, also highlighted the new Government’s responsibility to address the urgent issue of climate change.
“These are unprecedented times and the challenges the new administration faces are great and many. But I’m looking forward to playing a part and making a real difference for the people of my county and country,” she added.