Saturday 18 November 2017

Nash gets place at Cabinet table

Minister Ged Nash
Minister Ged Nash

Hubert Murphy

LABOUR TD Gerald Nash (38) has created history by becoming the first Drogheda-born politician to sit at the Cabinet table since the foundation of the State.

LABOUR TD Gerald Nash (38) has created history by becoming the first Drogheda-born politician to sit at the Cabinet table since the foundation of the State.

He has described the last few days as a 'whirlwind experience' after getting a call from Tanaiste Joan Burton at 10am last Friday.

'I wasn't expecting it,' he admitted, but was asked to a meeting at 11.30am, with a place at Cabinet on the table for him in the long awaited reshuffle.

He has been appointed a Super Minister, with responsibility for Business and Employment.

'I am pleased, but I know there's a serious job of work to be done now,' he stated.

The role of the 'Super Minister' was established in the mid 90s and allows Deputy Nash all the rights of a full minister, apart from voting at the Cabinet. He will be attending the full meetings.

'From the people I've spoken to at the weekend, I think there's a sense of pride that the town has a place at the Cabinet,' he added.

'I am very proud to be the first ever Cabinet Minister from Drogheda. I am extremely proud of my town, its people and our history and I will work day and night to ensure that Drogheda and the entire Louth & East Meath area feels the full impact of our economic recovery.'

The area has had other full ministers, including Paddy Donegan and Padraig Faulkner from Monasterboice and Dunleer respectively plus the likes of Jimmy Tully.

Deputy Nash entered politics in 1999 when elected onto the then Drogheda Corporation.

'I will be working in a number of areas, including job creation on a national and local level.We have had job announcements in this constituency and I'd like to see more jobs in Drogheda as there is an imbalance there. But I will be working hard for everyone.'

Small and Medium size enterprises will be part of his brief, plus working on collective bargaining legislation to enhance the rights of working people.

'The Taoiseach and Tanaiste have given me specific responsibility for the areas of employment rights, working conditions, the Low Pay Commission and supporting small and medium enterprises.

'This is a crucial role in our economic and social recovery.

'I am relishing the challenge and am particularly looking forward to working on enacting collective bargaining legislation and on making sure that we develop an independent, evidence-based process on low pay which makes work pay, ensures fairness at work but also ensures competitiveness.

'This is not a race to the bottom in terms of conditions.'

Since entering the Dáil the minister has been appointed vice chair of the Labour Parliamentary Party. He serves on three Dáil Committees: Environment, Culture and the Gaeltacht Committee; Foreign Affairs Committee; Public Accounts Committee. He also serves as chair of Labour's New Policy Forum and is chair of the Oireachtas Friends of Palestine.

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