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Putting one nominee forward for Phil Hogan’s EU Trade Commissioner role would be ‘unwise’ - Mairead McGuinness

Putting one nominee forward instead of two for Phil Hogan’s trade portfolio in the European Parliament would be “unwise” according to MEP and First Vice President of the Parliament Mairead McGuinness.

n today’s Sunday Independent, she put herself forward for the role after her name was “circulated”.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has requested the Irish government to put forward two nominees, a man and a woman to replace Mr Hogan’s job, who resigned in the wake of the ‘Golf-gate’ controversy.

“[Ms von der Leyen] wants the government to act swiftly and she wants two names, she wants a woman and a man,” she said on RTÉ Radio One This Week.

There have been suggestions that only one candidate may be put forward instead of two.

“I think that would be unwise but I presume the government will understand this as well. Clearly, when Phil Hogan made his resignation statement which was accepted by the President of the Commission the following day, she did ask for the nominations, she asked for two names, a woman and a man.

“I think that also we should recall that Commissioner President von der Leyen said in her statement, her opening statement if you like, making her pitch to parliament, that she wanted a gender balanced commission.

“It’s also important to know that this process goes to the European Parliament. So the Parliament is also mindful of gender balance issues, particularly around economic portfolios,” Ms McGuinness added.

She said that nobody in the Irish government has “sounded” her out.

“No-one has sounded me out.”

“I spoke to one person who’s a very good friend of mine, the other contacts came to me,” she said.

The MEP also said that Ireland’s “name has been spoken of in ways we’d rather it wasn’t” in Europe.

“I would have had a lot of contacts with colleagues who would have worked with Phil Hogan and that there is a personal sorrow that Phil has resigned in the way he did but an understanding in what has gone on up to that.

“I think what we will be measured by now will be our ability to recover,” she added.

She also called out the “rather masculine language such as heavy hitters and big shoes to fill” surrounding the role.

“Physique is really not part of this, this is about somebody who is committed to Europe and i think we have forgotten that here in Ireland. We have focused on Ireland’s interests as if they are exclusive and different from European,” Ms McGuinness said.

“Whoever gets this position, man or woman, will be required to be a European commissioner, clearly with an Irish background but not batting only for Ireland.”

Online Editors

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