LIMERICK MInister, Michael Noonan, is said to be on the way to full recovery and is set to play a crucial media role in the coming election.
Party sources have confirmed that the Minister will be concentrating on high-profile media appearances while Taoiseach Enda Kenny concentrates on touring the constituencies.
The 72-year old’s chest problems were kept low-quay but he has confirmed that he spent Christmas in hospital having some “medical procedures” and he says he is “now well on the mend”.
The Minister this week confirmed that he had been hospitalised with pneumonia. “I had a chest infection. It did not respond to antibiotics so it descended into pneumonia,” he told a press conference.
But the Fine Gael minister said he has recovered relatively quickly as is now back to himself. Referring to his continuing work alongside Expenditure Minister Brendan Howlin, he said “the double act is still in business”.
At the press conference, it was revealed that the Government took in €3.3 billion more than was expected last year, leading to speculation that there could be a balanced budget in 2017.
Minister Noonan, along with Employment Minister, Richard Bruton and Minister of State, Simon Harris had been working on Fine Gael’s key economic policies ahead of the election and it is understood that the Limerick Minister will make some key announcements during the campaign.
“The view would be that he should be in the TV studios talking to hundreds of thousands of people rather than going around towns, talking to small crowds,” a source revealed.
The Minister is considered to be a safe seat for the party in Limerick city. Party colleagues say he is determined to contest the seat, despite recent health setbacks. “A lot of these guys have never seen Fine Gael win back to back elections so they want to be part of that if it can be done,” the source said.