LIMERICK’s seven TDs will return their desks at Leinster House this Wednesday following the Dail’s eight-week summer recess.
The forthcoming Dail term, which will continue until early December, promises to be more interesting than normal.
Not only will there be changes in the way it operates, but the new term will coincide with the presidential election, three referenda and a by-election in Dublin West.
The continuing recession and the difficulties it has brought the country look set to dominate the political agenda as will the countdown to budget 2012.
In that context, the next few months will, perhaps, be the most important in the career of Deputy Michael Noonan as he prepares to deliver his first budget as Minister for Finance.
Former Minister for Defence, Willie O’Dea says he does not envy the challenge which his constituency colleague faces in the coming months.
He says his focus will be to represent the people of Limerick as best he can during the upcoming Dail session.
“It is a relief to be out of power at the moment. The party (Fianna Fail) is in a bleak state. I was re-elected by the people and I am going to do my best to serve them,” he said.
One Limerick TD who will be busier than most over the next few months will be Minister of State at the Department of Foreign Affairs Jan O’Sullivan.
The Labour TD will oversee the launch of the Export Trade Council at the end of this month and she will also lead trade missions to Saudi Arabia, Qatar and South Africa towards the end of the year.
Deputy Kieran O’Donnell says new procedures in the way the Dail operates will make it easier for TDs to highlight issues of concern to their local constituents.
Deputy Niall Collins agrees and says his position on the opposition benches won’t stop him from representing his constituents.
“I intend to use the forthcoming Dail term to continue to voice the concerns of issue to the people of County Limerick and the Midwest Region.”
For Limerick’s youngest TD, Deputy Patrick O’Donovan, the new Dail term is just his second since he was elected, along with his running mate Dan Neville, for the for the first time in February.
He is still on a learning curve but says the upcoming Dail term will be hugely important. “It will probably be the most important of the five years,” he said.