Seán Canney likely to confirm exit from Independent Alliance

Non-reinstatement in rotating Minister of State role thought to underpin dissatisfaction

 Seán Canney, Minister of State for the OPW: while on the verge of leaving the Independent Alliance, he wants to continue to support the Government on a case-to-case basis. Photograph: Alan Betson

Seán Canney, Minister of State for the OPW: while on the verge of leaving the Independent Alliance, he wants to continue to support the Government on a case-to-case basis. Photograph: Alan Betson

 

The Independent Alliance expects Seán Canney to confirm his departure from the political grouping today.

Mr Canney had said he was considering his future with the alliance following his failure to be reinstated as a Minister of State.

The alliance contacted the Galway East TD and asked him to clarify his intentions by the weekend. However, Mr Canney has not made contact with the group since.

One Independent Alliance source said they believed he would be making a statement on Monday and expected him to confirm his intentions.

However, the source stressed they could not be clear as he had not returned calls or been in contact with them since last week.

While Mr Canney is thought to be on the verge of leaving the five-member alliance, he ie eager to continue to support the Government on a case-to-case basis.

Extra salary

He held a meeting with Taoiseach Leo Varadkar last week to assess if he can continue in his role as assistant Government chief whip, which earns him an additional €15,000 on top of his TD salary.

However, members of the Independent Alliance have stated they do not believe he should be allowed to continue in this position.

The Irish Times has been unable to contact Mr Canney. The dispute centres on a row over who should remain as Minister of State with responsibility for the Office of Public Works.

In an arrangement that was brokered after the general election in 2016, it was agreed that Mr Canney and Kevin “Boxer” Moran would rotate the ministry.

Mr Canney was minister for the first year, after which Mr Moran took over the position.

However, when the second anniversary of the Government approached, Mr Canney argued to the Alliance that the position should rotate back to him.

The other members of the Alliance backed Mr Moran’s argument that given the uncertainty about the longevity of the Government, the understanding had always been that there be one arrangement.