‘Boxer’ Moran wins fight to retain junior minister position

Kevin ‘Boxer’ Moran has won a fight to keep his ministerial post after a power struggle with Independent Alliance colleague Sean Canney over who should be the junior minister.

The Midlands TD came out on top after days of internal bickering in the coalition partner group, which saw a series of crisis meetings called to try to calmly resolve the political spat.

Mr Moran has now won out and will retain his post as minister of state over the Office of Public Works (OPW).

The standoff centred on a pre-government deal to rotate the junior ministerial position between Mr Moran and Mr Canney.

The decision on who would take up the role first was initially decided by the toss of a coin.

Mr Canney held the post for the first year while Mr Moran took over for the second year. It had been thought the Coalition’s lifetime might not last this long and so no agreement was made about what would happen after Mr Moran’s term was up.

A stormy meeting of the alliance earlier this week finished without a resolution. However, the alliance met again yesterday and issued a statement afterwards.

The statement said it has been agreed that Mr Moran will remain in his position as OPW minister for the remainder of the lifetime of this Government.

Alliance sources said it was never agreed what might happen and it was assumed that Mr Moran took a risk by accepting his role in the second year, where there were doubts about the Coalition existing.

Speaking yesterday evening, Mr Moran said he will remain in his position until the next general election. He also said he and Mr Canney will remain good friends.

“There were no votes [at the meeting]. What we do is agree,” said the Longford-Westmeath TD.

Mr Moran said Mr Canney had not indicated that he would consider his position in the alliance. He also denied it was anything to do with details on claiming a ministerial pension.

The end to the standoff comes as the alliance prepares to hold a summit in Westmeath later this month, where they intend to recruit more councillors with promises of influence and power.

As revealed in today’s Irish Examiner, the four ministers and one TD, including Shane Ross, have issued an invitation to Independent councillors around the country to the conference on April 28, in the Shamrock Lodge Hotel, to mark two years in Government. The letter, signed by all five, promises they will ramp up pressure on their Fine Gael government partners to increase councillors’ pay.

Local government minister, John Paul Phelan, has said that councillors should get more pay but that he will get “slated on Joe Duffy for a month if councillors get a rise”.

The alliance ministers also promise they will and do give Independent Alliance councillors “privileged access to information not available to other councillors”.

Independent senator Gerard Craughwell, who saw the letter, said: “It’s a bit strange. This would be Ross talk. One would expect that they would include all county councillors.

“It is important [as ministers] they give out information to all, including outside their group. This is an expectation in new politics.”


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