I was delighted to open Tuam Fire Station this week and wish all the best to Chief Fire Officer Paul Duffy and his team.

Back in 1956 the original fire station was built in High Street and has served the needs of the busiest brigade outside Galway city since then.

The original station lacked space for expansion and proper training facilities hence the necessity to build a new modern facility.

Since 2007 when this site was purchased, the journey has at times been frustrating but the project really took off in 2016 and the project we see today has proven to be a project worth waiting for.

The total investment of €2.40million, including site costs, has provided a modern fire station and training centre for Galway Fire and Rescue Services.

I want to particularly acknowledge the standard set by the design team and Carey Developments, the main contractor and their team.

This investment in Tuam is one of a number of positive advances we have seen in Tuam over the last number of years.

Tuam as a centre now boasts a motorway and by-Pass, a top class water supply, waste water capacity and broadband. All of these have been delivered by the vision of many in Galway County Council over the last 20 years.

Tuam has also benefitted from the many funding streams now

available through my Department, including the Town and Village Renewal Scheme, the Outdoor Recreation scheme and the Rural Regeneration Fund.

I look forward to the development of the plan by Galway County Council for the Station Quarter, old Fire Station and the town centre. This plan will provide the blue print for the further development of Tuam.

We also have plans to develop and bring existing public buildings back into use.

Plans are well advanced for the old library in Shop Street and the old Grove building on Vicar Street. This project will be a great addition to Tuam Health Campus, which has seen a total investment of €40 million.

The old Courthouse on Dublin Road is also to be refurbished and brought back into use by the Court Services.

There has also been an increase in private sector investment.

The €44 million investment by Valeo in their R & D facility has been supported by the IDA. We have also seen the arrival of Steeltech supported by Enterprise Ireland among a range of other investments taking place.

The springboard for further development relies on collaboration and vision. Tuam is in the Atlantic Economic Corridor region and as Chair of the AEC Task Force I want to see further development to ensure balanced regional development.

I see the new Fire Station as another statement of intent to drive economic development in our region and maximise our full potential.

The last 3 years has also seen unprecedented improvement in our educational facilities and to me this is the foundation for all we want to achieve.