Independent Alliance backs ‘Boxer’ Moran over Seán Canney

TDs had been involved in row over apparent deal to rotate Minister of State post annually

 Independent Alliance members Seán Canney (left) and Kevin ‘Boxer’ Moran. File photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times.

Independent Alliance members Seán Canney (left) and Kevin ‘Boxer’ Moran. File photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times.

 

Kevin “Boxer” Moran is to retain his position as a Minister of State following a meeting of the Independent Alliance to settle a dispute over an alleged agreement to rotate the role between two members of the group.

Mr Moran and Seán Canney, a Galway East TD, had been at odds over who should be the Minister of State at the Office of Public Works (OPW).

A statement from the Alliance on Thursday afternoon confirmed that Mr Moran will remain in his position for the duration of the Government’s term of office.

The group held a meeting in Leinster House on Thursday to settle the row. However, one of the five member group - Finian McGrath, Minister of State for Disability Issues - is away in New York on Government business.

As well as the two men involved, the meeting was attended by Minister for Transport Shane Ross and John Halligan, the Minister of State for Training and Skills.

Mr Moran and Mr Canney made an agreement two years ago to rotate the position between them. When the Fine Gael-led minority administration took office in May 2016, they decided by way of coin toss that Mr Canney should take the job first for one year. Mr Moran then took the role last June.

The dispute arose between the pair as the second anniversary of the Government’s taking office approached.

Mr Canney maintained the ministerial post should revert back to him, while Mr Moran, a Longford-Westmeath deputy, believed the agreement was that Mr Canney would have the job for one year only.

The simmering dispute drew in the remaining members of the Alliance.

The three founding members of the group - Mr Ross, Mr McGrath and Mr Halligan - have ministerial jobs for the duration of the Government’s term.

A statement released by the Alliance said: “The Independent Alliance has today confirmed that Minister of State with responsibility for the OPW and Flood Relief, Kevin ‘Boxer’ Moran, will be continuing in that role for the remainder of the term of this Government.

“This follows recent media commentary as to who would fill the role going forward after two years in Government.

“The Independent Alliance met this afternoon and expressed its support for Minister of State Moran and the work he has been progressing while in office.”