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Sean Canney quits the Independent Alliance

He announced the move this morning.

Image: Sean Canney

Updated at 6.30pm

GALWAY EAST TD Sean Canney has this morning announced that he is leaving the Independent Alliance.

In a statement, Canney said that he informed his colleagues of his decision this morning and that he will still support the Government on budgetary matters.

He said: “I have today informed my Independent Alliance colleagues that I am leaving the group. I wish the Independent Alliance all the best in the future.

“I confirm that I will continue to support the Government on issues of confidence and budgetary matters.

“National issues such as Brexit are a threat to our country. I believe that we will need to work collectively to protect Ireland’s interests. Other areas of concern are housing, health services and flooding and the increasing challenges faced by small family farmers and rural dwellers.”

In a statement, the Independent Alliance said:

The Independent Alliance note the departure of Sean Canney from the group and we wish him well in the future.

Last week, it was reported that Canney and Kevin ‘Boxer’ Moran had been having an argument about who gets to be minister.

In order for the Independent Alliance to go into government with Fine Gael, they had a wish-list of items they wanted before they signed on the dotted line.

This included that they would get a certain number of jobs. A deal was done over the role of the Minister of State for the Office of Public Works, whereby it was decided the role would alternate between two members of the IA.

It’s understood the Canney and Boxer Moran flipped a coin to decide who would take up the first stint.

Canney was appointed to the role for the first year of the minority government and then Boxer Moran took over a year later.

A row developed over who would get the third year.

In an interview on the Today with Sean O’Rourke show on RTÉ Radio One, Canney said he ”didn’t feel comfortable there”.

Canney is still the Government assistant whip, and said it is the prerogative of the Taoiseach to decide whether he should remain in that position. Having met with the Taoiseach this week, Sean Canney told Sean that he wants to support the government,

“I went to the Taoiseach and told him that if I do leave, it doesn’t change my support for the government and my drive to make sure that the programme for government is put in place,” he added.

Speaking to TheJournal.ie in Cork today, Tánaiste Simon Coveney said Canney is “still very supportive of the government”.

“The issue that he has is really a matter for Sean and the Independent Alliance. I wouldn’t interfere in the inner workings of other parties. I would consider myself a good friend of Sean Canney, I would work very closely with him. I worked very closely with him during the programme for government negotiations,” said the Tánaiste, who added that he is confidence that Canney will continue to support the government as an independent.

Coveney denied that this is the first crack in the government.

“No, I don’t think so, this is very much an internal issue for them, it really is a matter for the Independent Alliance to manage that. My concern and responsibility is that Sean and the other independents that support the government are happy in that partnership,” he said.

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