Independent TD Sean Canney resigns as Assistant Government Chief Whip

The Galway East TD said the role had "become a distraction from my main priority"

Independent TD Sean Canney resigns as Assistant Government Chief Whip

File photo: Galway TD Sean Canney arrives at Government Buildings, 05-05-2016. Image: Leah Farrell/RollingNews

Independent TD Sean Canney has resigned from his position as Assistant Government Chief Whip.

It comes after he announced last week he would be leaving the Independent Alliance after a row over ministerial positions.

He has now also resigned as Deputy Whip, saying it had become a distraction to his priority of serving the people of East Galway.

The role saw the Galway East TD get a €15,000 top-up to his salary, which he will now forego.

In a statement today, he explained: "This is my own personal decision. Both decisions have been based on principle, not position.

"The issue of the Assistant Government Chief Whip has become a distraction from my main priority, which has always been to serve the interests of the people of Galway East." 

He added: "I will continue to support the Government on budgetary and confidence issues. It is important that we maintain a stable Government, when we have so many pressing matters, nationally and locally."

Deputy Canney left the Independent Alliance after the group of independents announced that he would not be returning to his role as Minister of State at the Office of Public Works (OPW).

During the group's negotiations to form the current minority government with Fine Gael, it had been agreed Deputy Canney would share the role with Longford and Westmeath deputy Kevin "Boxer" Moran.

Deputy Canney took office for the first year of the Government, with Deputy Moran taking up the role in May 2017.

It had been expected that the position would revert back to Deputy Canney in the coming weeks, but Deputy Moran refused to step aside – and was backed by the other members of the group.

In a statement announcing his intention to leave the alliance last week, Deputy Canney said it would be "business as usual for me as I continue to serve the constituents of Galway East as an Independent TD.”