Deputy for Longford-Westmeath, Kevin ‘Boxer’ Moran, will share a junior ministerial position with Galway East TD Sean Canney in the make-up of the minority Government led by Fine Gael.
The news came last Friday at the conclusion of the 10-week discussions between political parties and Independents. Speaking this week, Deputy Moran said it was a proud day for him personally and an exciting time for Athlone. The Athlone Deputy has received some criticism from some quarters for coming to an agreement that sees Enda Kenny become the first Fine Gael Taoiseach to ever be re-elected.
In response, Deputy Moran said: “There have been some people expressing their anger on Facebook and I can understand where they are coming from - they voted for me as an Independent but I always made it clear I was willing to go into Government.
“They are saying, ‘Ah you supported Fine Gael’. I didn’t, I supported a partnership for Government. A lot of the Independents opted to stay out along with some of the small parties and one of the main parties in Sinn Féin. I’ll be honest with you, in the short time I have been here all you here is the same people shouting about what they would do if they were in Government, but yet when they had the chance to govern they chose to sit on the outside.
“For me, it is a huge challenge to support the minority Government led by Fine Gael. It is a risky career move for me, it could damage me if it collapses after 12 months, but I am not afraid of that. In my early days my motto was ‘Boxer Delivers’; in the election just gone it was ‘Making it Happen’ - the only way to deliver or to make things happen is by being part of the Government.”
Deputy Moran has one message for the people of Athlone and Longford-Westmeath: “I would say to the people of Athlone ye have trusted me so far and I hope you continue to do so, and now I am asking the whole of Longford-Westmeath to trust me. And if I don’t deliver, then I won’t put my name on a ballot paper again. Give me at least a month or two to settle in and then I will start delivering.”
The real question on everybody’s mind at this moment is whether or not the present Government will be in place in one year’s time to allow ‘Boxer’ a real opportunity to do so. Only time will tell.