Sunday 19 August 2018

Leo leaves Independents to battle for position

Kevin ‘Boxer’Moran, pictured, and Sean Canney had agreed to alternate the post of Floods Minister – a deal that is in dispute
Kevin ‘Boxer’Moran, pictured, and Sean Canney had agreed to alternate the post of Floods Minister – a deal that is in dispute
Kevin Doyle

Kevin Doyle

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar plans to take a hands-off approach to an Independent Alliance feud over who gets to be Floods Minister for the next year.

Kevin 'Boxer' Moran and Sean Canney struck a deal to share the post when the Government was formed in May 2016.

Following a coin toss, Mr Canney became a minister for the first year of the Government before handing over to his colleague last summer.

However, the arrangement was never formally put in writing and there is now a dispute as to whether the position is due to alternate again.

Sources say there is likely to be a showdown in coming days, but suggestions that the five members of the Alliance could take a vote on who should be minister have been ruled out.

Although each minister serves at the discretion of the Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar is keen to let the Alliance resolve the issue without his direct intervention.

"The decision on the appointment of a Minister of State is a matter for Cabinet, but who is nominated to hold that position is a matter for the Independent Alliance," he said.

Labour Party leader Brendan Howlin described the situation as being like 'Lanigan's Ball'.

He questioned whether the issue would ultimately be decided upon by a vote of Cabinet "as is required by law or is it another toss of the coin".

Independent TD Mattie McGrath said that it was a game of "musical chairs".

Sources say the row, which has been brewing for some time, will have to be resolved "sooner rather than later".

As part of the deal for entering government, the Independent Alliance was granted one senior ministry which was taken by their de facto leader Shane Ross.

Finian McGrath became the super junior minister with responsibility for disabilities.

John Halligan became a Minister of State in the Department of Education.

The final two members agreed to the rotating ministry.

Irish Independent

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