Comeback kid Tim Crookall has returned to the Department of Infrastructure as Minister.

It’s a position widely considered the poison chalice of Manx politics.

The new Minister’s in-tray will include ongoing air travel disruption, social housing reform, offshore gas exploration, the spiralling budget of the Liverpool ferry terminal and the future of heritage rail.

His predecessor Chris Thomas was asked to step down by Chief Minister Alfred Cannan in July over frustration at the pace of reform in the department. Mr Cannan had assumed ministerial responsibility for the department since then.

Mr Crookall was appointed Minister for Infrastructure in October 2021 before becoming Enterprise Minister in June 2022 and then announcing he was leaving the Council of Ministers with immediate effect, saying he could not continue to play an effective part in the CoMin team.

He will continue his role as chairman of Manx Utilities.

In previous administrations he has been Minister for Education and Children and the now-disbanded Community Culture and Leisure.

Chief Minister Alfred Cannan said: ‘Tim Crookall is a committed and experienced politician who has consistently stepped up to serve the island when needed.

‘Tim fully understands that the Department of Infrastructure is undergoing an evolution and is committed to delivering the vision set out in Our Island Plan. It will be good to have him back in the Council of Ministers.’

Mr Crookall said: ‘I am delighted to be asked to return to the Department of Infrastructure. I fully recognise the pressures that the department is facing and the commitment to refocus its operations.

‘I intend to bring any change proposals to the Council of Ministers as soon as possible and ensure we move the department forward with focus and purpose.

‘I look forward to re-joining a committed team at the DOI and working with them to deliver excellent services.’

The DoI has been the focus of much criticism.

A 2021 report by consultants Beamans highlighted ‘fundamental weaknesses’ in a department lacking strategic orientation and focus. It recommended that consideration should be given to reorganising the department.

Another review of the DoI is under way, with changes to the way the airport and transport services are run.

It is possible that some DoI functions could be hived off to other departments.