Minister Simon Coveney will not be taking up the role of EU Commissioner, after his name wasn’t one of the two put forward to the President of the European Commission.
Speculation had been mounting that the Cork South Central TD would be one of the two names put forward to Ursula von der Leyen, as he was seen as the most experienced person for the job.
It was also thought that if he was chosen as Phil Hogan’s successor, Ireland had a chance at holding on to the trade portfolio.
However, Vice President of the European Parliament Mairead McGuinness; and Andrew McDowell, who was until recently Vice President of the European Investment Bank, were the two names put forward for the position.
In a statement the Government says it “believes that both are candidates of the highest calibre, possessing the necessary competence, independence and European commitment to serve in the role of Commissioner with distinction.”
President von der Leyen will now consult with the European Parliament before the appointment of a new Commissioner is made by the Council.
The statement adds: “The question of the allocation of roles within the Commission is also one for President von der Leyen. However, the Government firmly believes that both candidates have demonstrated that they have experience, skills and capacity to serve and to make a contribution in the most demanding roles.”
Phil Hogan resigned from his role as European Commissioner after it emerged he was one of 81 people who attended the Oireachtas Golf Society dinner in Clifden last month.
If Minister Coveney had been put forward to take his place, it would have triggered a by-election in the Cork South Central constituency.