I think this is my first time speaking in the Chamber since we were re-elected. It feels nice to be back. The programme for Government, as set out, was a great one, and one to which we all subscribed. However, as the Cathaoirleach is aware, there was one huge disappointment for the people of Kerry, insofar as the liquid natural gas project in the Shannon Estuary was effectively dumped. My colleagues in the Green Party saw to that, and while they have their point of view on the issue, I have another, as someone who has been involved in promoting the project for many years. However, we are where we are and we must be positive and move on.
The programme for Government specifies that to compensate for the loss of the expected jobs in the region, there will be a special focus and an all-departmental effort to secure employment in the north Kerry and west Limerick areas bordering the Shannon Estuary.
That effort was to include environmentally friendly job creation and involve the Departments of Transport and the Environment, Climate and Communications. Foynes Harbour, of which I was a director for 16 years, is one of the biggest handlers of bulk cargo in Europe and there is great scope for it to be developed. Will the Government firm up on the commitments made in the programme for Government? Which Department will take the lead on the proposed redevelopment? Will the Leader invite the appropriate lead Minister to the Chamber as soon as possible for a debate on the matter? It is very important. Emigration and unemployment have killed the region in which I live. It deserves a break. Those living in the area were wounded by the removal of the liquified national gas project. I do not believe that project is dead in the water. I still think there is a future for importing gas even though it is a fossil fuel. I do not think we will be able to hit our targets without some sort of fossil fuel being involved in the medium term at any rate. I ask the Leader to revert to me on the issue at a suitable time.