Another new year has arrived and many resolutions have been made, many broken, and the few happily kept going. At this stage my lack of confidence in my ability to keep them has made me reluctant to even try. Nevertheless we should have a go and life is really about the constant fresh start. I’m very happily and determinedly free of nicotine for up to twenty years. For years before that it was the annual resolution to rid myself of the noxious weed. I now attribute my ultimate success after a holiday in West Cork, which does remind one that there are many reasons to go on living for as long as possible, to the previous false starts and failed resolutions. They built up the resistance and the resolution. All that culminated in a visit to hypnotist in Clonakilty who sealed the deal. I wonder is he still there and practicing. Maybe he might need me for future testimonials. My point is that the New Years Resolution even if more honoured in the breach has value.

I have a big new professional ambition for 2017. I want to see inward investment into Cavan. I began a dialogue with Minister Mary Mitchell O Connor on this before Christmas and have set about continuing it. Only the other day I listed projects on my Facebook like page that I was previously involved with achieving for Cavan. Those successes give me the self belief to keep going. I think I have a strong hand of cards this time. Cavan is close to Dublin. There is a motorway close to Virginia and hopefully it can be brought to Cavan Town. All our towns have high speed broadband. We have the most established and successful post leaving certificate Institute in the country. Our hotels restaurants and bars are state of the art and in a number of cases have national reputations. Our towns have the very best water and sewerage infrastructures offering potential for growth. Cavan town has the infrastructure to facilitate a trebling of population. There is a good supply of houses and building land available relatively cheaply compared to Dublin. This must be a great selling point these days. We have a fine successful theatre in Virginia attracting quality drama and popular entertainers on a weekly basis. Our county museum in Ballyjamesduff is uniquely successful attracting many exhibitions and lectures. We already have strong industrial and agri business sectors with very adaptable workforces and hundred percent records of industrial peace. I want to establish from the Minister how she can be proactive in directing inward investment towards us. A silver lining in the dark cloud that is Brexit is the probability of additional inward investments. Surely the part of Ireland most deserving this is the very part likely to be most adversely effected by Brexit.

We are all going to be challenged in a very particular way during 2017. It will be the year when we are asked to take our fair share of refugees as per already agreed European Quotas. Will we remember Ellis Island and the boatloads of emigrants who left daily in the fifties, in the eighties and again in the recent economic collapse. I think we will and that our innate decency and Christianity will prevail. From this vantage point it would seem that the people of Ballaghadreen are being restrained and in the main welcoming of their refugees. Their local politicians seem responsible focussing on process and detail. To their credit there is a marked absence of inflammatory populist rhetoric. I hope I’m right. Let’s offer our new Irish a warm welcome.

Embrace and enjoy the New Year. To borrow the Ancient Roman Maxim ‘Carpe Diem’. Seize the moment. Enjoy each day. We will keep in touch.

Senator Joe O'Reilly representing Cavan & Monaghan 2010. | An ExSite website