The Minister for Transport has told the Dáil that he is committed to balanced regional development.

Eamon Ryan said his first priority is to look at counties like Cork, Galway, Waterford and Limerick, and put infrastructure in place that will "see them grow".

He was responding to Independent Limerick TD Richard O'Donoghue, who called for additional resources to be deployed to counties like Limerick under the Project Ireland 2040 plan to ensure balanced regional development.

Minister Ryan said one facility that he would consider investing in is Foynes Port in Limerick, adding that there is "huge potential there".

He also mentioned the need to improve rail connections by setting up stations at the likes of Foynes Port, Shannon Airport, Moyross, Corbally and a "whole range of other stations across and around [Limerick] city".

He said great work had been done on Metro North and Bus Connects, but infrastructure projects in the likes of Limerick had yet to gain momentum.

It is his "first priority" to address this, he said.

He also told the Dáil that such strategic projects would stand to benefit neighbouring counties such as Clare and Tipperary. The rail networks are there , he said, and the cost would not be significant.

Richard O'Donoghue said history proves that many of these promises are rarely fulfilled, citing sewage issues at Oolagh and Askeaton.

He also asked Mr Ryan to ensure that the new chairperson of the Shannon Group, which operates Shannon Airport, is somebody with the required skills and experience to increase passenger numbers at the facility.