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Leah Farrell/
rotating ministry

Here's why Sean Canney and Kevin 'Boxer' Moran will NOT both get ministerial pensions

The TDs flipped a coin last year to decide who would take the first shift as junior minister.

MINISTER FOR STATE Sean Canney last week confirmed he will, as was agreed in government formation talks, trade places with Kevin ‘Boxer’ Moran by August.

The two independent TDs were crucial for the formation of the current government and both wanted the junior ministry at the OPW, with flood relief being a special area of interest for the two men. However, they had to settle on a rotating junior ministry and after a coin-toss, it was agreed Canney would take the first one-year shift as minister for state.

Speaking last weekend on RTÉ’s The Week in Politics, the junior minister at the Office of Public Works said he would be trading places with Moran ‘sometime between now and August’.

A few readers last weekend questioned whether or not this unique set-up would mean two ministerial pensions for the one position.

So, what are the rules?

Usually a minimum of two years in office is required to qualify for a pension, but there usually aren’t two people sharing a ministry. We asked the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform and a spokesperson confirmed the normal rules would still apply.

“Minister Canney was appointed as Minister of State at the OPW by the government. He is the official appointment. Pension rules are clearly set out in legislation,” the department said.

Even if Canney waits until the end of August to hand over the reins to his colleague, he will not have served as junior minister for the full two years required.

Moran, who spoke to this week said he was “not worried about getting a pension”.

“I’m here to serve the people, if I never became a minister it wouldn’t worry me, I’m doing this for the people of Ireland.”

I just hope at the end of it all that people say I did a good job.

Last May, Micheál Martin was critical of the decision to have a rotating ministry.

I remember asking Deputy Moran in the corridors was it two and a half-years each? To which he replied ‘you must be joking, this thing isn’t going last at all – it’s one year at a time’.

Moran said this is not exactly what happened, but declined to go into further detail.

“We need to make this government last to solve problems for the people’s sake,” he said.

What happens if the government does last?

Moran said that if the government is still going when he has served the same amount of time as Canney served, they will “sit down and discuss the rest of the term”.

He said it was possible they would “change again”. In this instance, it is technically possible that Canney could serve enough time to push over the two years required for the ministerial pension. And he is, as the department spokesperson pointed out, the “official appointment”.

If the government collapses before the full term, neither of the TDs will receive the upgraded pension.

“We didn’t come into politics concerned about getting a pension,” Moran told He said he believed the decision to make the role a rotating ministry was a positive one, describing his partnership with Canney as “a type of new politics”.

“Two heads making a decision is better than one.”


Read: Minister who got job after coin toss to swap role with close ally by August>

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