I come from a family farm in Belclare, Tuam, County Galway. Married to Geraldine McHugh from Caherlistrane, we have three children, Kenneth, Shane and the late David. I am the son of Sheila and the late Christy Canney and am one of seven children.
A quantity surveyor by profession, I worked in the private sector for 25 years. Prior to my election to the Dáil in 2016, I lectured in construction economics and quantity surveying at Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology (GMIT) for more than nine years.
A community activist for many years, I am Public Relations Officer for Belclare/Sylane Community Council and was chairperson of the council when it developed the Community Sports facility in Belclare. As a member of Corofin GAA, I served as Assistant Secretary for a number of years.
First elected to Galway County Council in 2004, I was re-elected in 2009 and 2014 and was Mayor of County Galway in 2007-2008. During my period as a county councillor, I was a member of the Planning and Development SPC and Vice Chairperson of the Inter County Rail Committee.
Having been elected to the Dáil as TD for Galway East, I was appointed Minister of State for the Office of Public Works and Flood Relief. I also served as Assistant Chief Whip and was a member of the Council of Europe.
The Taoiseach appointed me Minister of State in the Department of Rural and Community Development and the Department of Communications, Climate Action and the Environment in October 2018. My role includes special responsibilities for Community Development, Natural Resources and Digital Development.
As Minister, I am chairperson of the following bodies: The Atlantic Economic Corridor Task Force; the National Advisory Council to Government for Online Safety; and the Mobile Phone and Broadband Task Force Implementation Group.
My vision for Ireland is that it is a place where our children and grandchildren can build a decent life for themselves, where all people are treated equally and where our society looks after the most vulnerable.
I am totally committed to do everything within my power to achieve this. We need to implement policies that empower people and communities. People must always be the priority.