Government nominate Mairead McGuinness & Andrew McDowell for EU Commissioner role

ireland
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Digital Desk staff

Updated at 15:57

The Government has officially confirmed they have nominated Mairead McGuinness and Andrew McDowell for the role of EU Commissioner.

In a statement released this afternoon they said:

"Following an incorporeal meeting of the Government, the Taoiseach has today written to the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, to propose for nomination as Member of the European Commission Ms Mairead McGuinness, currently vice president of the European Parliament, and Mr Andrew McDowell, until recently vice president of the European Investment Bank.

"The Government 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.

"In keeping with the provisions of the European Treaties, President von der Leyen will now consult with the European Parliament before the appointment of a new Commissioner is made by the Council, in common accord with the President of the Commission.

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The government said it believes both candidates have demonstrated that they have experience, skills and capacity to serve and to make a contribution in the most demanding roles.

Honoured

In a statement welcoming the news, MEP Frances Fitzgerald welcomed the nomination of Ms McGuinness and Mr McDowell.

She also said she was honoured to have been considered for nomination.

Ms Fitzgerald said: "I want to welcome the government decision to select two nominees Mairead McGuinness MEP and Andrew McDowell. It is very welcome that the government has nominated both a woman and a man. Both are excellent candidates for the role of EU Commissioner and I wish them every success in the time ahead.

"This is a critical and important time for Ireland and the EU given the imminent challenges of Brexit and Covid-19. I have no doubt that the government has considered carefully the appropriate mix of candidates and skills. Personally, I feel very honoured at the encouragement and support I have received from so many during this period."

Today's news means Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney will not be one of the Government’s nominees for the role of European Commissioner. He had been widely tipped as one of the people who would be nominated.

Tanaiste Leo Varadkar recently said he is glad Coveney did not put his name forward in the end:

"He is somebody of enormous ability and he certainly would have been a top class commissioner had he decided to go for it.

"For Ireland and for the government I am really glad he is staying quite frankly. He is somebody we need as we enter the next stage of Brexit."

Mr Hogan resigned as Ireland’s EU commissioner after controversy over his attendance at an Oireachtas golf dinner in Clifden, Co Galway and his movements in the country during his visit to Ireland.

President of the European Commission Ursula Von der Leyen asked Ireland to submit the names of a woman and a man, in accordance with her priority of pursuing gender balance in the commission.

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