Rotation of Independent Alliance’s junior ministry delayed

Kevin ‘Boxer’ Moran was to take over from Seán Canney on Government’s anniversary

Independent Alliance TDs Sean Canney, John Halligan, Shane Ross, Kevin ‘Boxer’ Moran and Finian McGrath on the plinth at Leinster House. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons

The rotation of a junior ministry agreed by two Independent Alliance TDs is unlikely to take place until later this month at the very least.

When the Government was formed last year, it was agreed that newly-elected TDs Seán Canney and Kevin “Boxer” Moran would share the post of Minister of State with responsibility for the Office of Public Works.

Among the responsibilities of the OPW portfolio is flood defences, an issue on which both TDs had campaigned. Mr Moran was one of the volunteers who erected temporary flood defences using sandbags and electric pumps in Athlone, when the Shannon burst its banks in the winter of 2015.

Under the arrangement Mr Canney was to become the OPW Minister for the first year, with Mr Moran taking over the position for the duration of the Government’s term, which is expected by many to last another year.


With the first anniversary of the Government falling this week, the Galway East Deputy is due to step down and allow his Independent colleague from the Longford-Westmeath assume the responsibilities.

However, Mr Canney said this weekend that the change would not happen on the first anniversary of the Government but some time later. He and Mr Moran would likely sit down this week to settle on the actual date.

Facing repossession

He said Mr Moran had published a Bill earlier this year aimed at keeping people who were facing repossession the right to remain in their homes.

The Private Members’ Bill was introduced to the Dáil earlier this year, with the backing of the Independent Alliance. It proposes that courts should consider the impact that the loss of a home would have on the dependents and children of the homeowner whose mortgage is in distress.

Mr Canney is understood to want to complete several flood defence projects, as well as other OPW-related work, if he steps down.

In the event that the Government continues past its second anniversary, Mr Moran will be allowed continue in the ministerial role until an election is called.

It is unusual for newly-elected Oireachtas members to be elevated immediately to ministerial positions. However, as part of its deal with Government the Independent Alliance was allotted four ministries in total.

Its leader, Shane Ross, became Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport; Finian McGrath and John Halligan became Ministers of State, and the final junior ministry was shared between Mr Canney and Mr Moran.

Harry McGee

Harry McGee

Harry McGee is a Political Correspondent with The Irish Times