Update: Taoiseach deeply regrets Sean Canney's decision to leave Independent Alliance

[Update 3.50pm: The Taoiseach says he deeply regrets that Sean Canney is leaving the Independent Alliance.

Mr Canney decided to leave the group after a row over a Junior Ministry.

He was due to swap the role with Kevin Boxer Moran, but the Alliance has decided Boxer should remain as Minister for the OPW until the end of the lifetime of the government.

"Obviously I deeply regret the fact that he had decided to leave the Independent Alliance," said Leo Varadkar.

"But that is a decision for him and I welcome the fact that he wants to continue to support the Government, continue to focus on the implementation of the Program for Government which he helped to write. And continue to represent his constituents from within Government"

"So next week I will be meeting with him and meeting with the Independent Alliance to work out the terms of that how we can move forward."

Earlier: Seán Canney quits Independent Alliance

Seán Canney is leaving the Independent Alliance.

It follows a recent row which had left his future in the group unclear.

He was unhappy at not getting back his job as a Junior Minister after swapping roles with Kevin Boxer Moran.

They were due to switch back this year as part of a deal made when the government was formed, but the Alliance has decided to leave Boxer in the role.

The Galway East TD has released a statement confirming the move this morning and said he will "continue to support the Government on issues of confidence and budgetary matters".

He has spent a week considering his position and has decided to leave the Independent Alliance.

It is unclear at the moment if he will keep the position of Assistant Government Whip, which sees him get a €15,000 top-up to his salary.

His statement said in full:

"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.

"I have taken time to consider all my options and I thank you all for your patience. I was elected by the people of Galway East as an Independent to represent their interests. Since my election I have done that to the best of my ability. I will continue to put the people first, they are my priority.

"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.

"The Atlantic Economic Corridor is the vehicle by which we will deliver balanced regional development.

"The Programme for Government was developed to ensure that we deliver a better, fairer society for all our citizens. As an Independent TD serving Galway East, I look forward to the task of delivering this programme for the benefit of Galway East and the region.’

"I want to thank all who have contacted me over the last number of weeks offering their support. I want again to emphasise that it is business as usual for me as I continue to serve the constituents of Galway East as an Independent TD."

In a statement, the Independent Alliance wished Canney well in the future.

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