Simon Coveney confirms his interest in EU Commissioner role

ireland
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Digital Desk staff

Additional reporting by Daniel McConnell

UPDATED: 5.40pm

The Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney has confirmed he is willing to take on the role of European Commissioner following the departure of Phil Hogan.

Speaking in West Cork, Mr Coveney said he is not ruling himself out as a candidate but, he said, he would need to be convinced that he would add "significant value" to Ireland's chances of increasing its profile within the commission.

Following Mr Hogan's resignation, the Government was invited by EU Commission President, Ursula von der Leyen to nominate both a male and female candidate to represent Ireland.

Mr Coveney is the firm favourite to assume the role, saying he is part of a discussion currently taking place within Government regarding Mr Hogan's successor.

The Cork South-Central TD said national politics has been "and still is" a huge part of his life.

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Fine Gael MEP Frances Fitzgerald confirmed earlier that she would also like to be considered for the position.

Ms Fitzgerald says she is aware the appointment is a complex government decision.

Vice-president of the European Parliament Mairead McGuinness has also expressed her interest in the role.

Trade portfolio

There is intense speculation the Government will not meet the request and instead put just one name forward.

Simon Coveney is strongly tipped for the role, as its believed he will have the best chance at retaining the trade portfolio at EU level.

Mr Coveney said the Government and Taoiseach Micheáll Martin are currently trying to establish if that is the case.

Speaking to RTE, Mr Coveney said he was part of discussions taking place within Government about Mr Hogan’s successor, but added that national politics was “and still is” a huge part of his life.

The three party leaders met to discuss their options on Friday and are expected to meet again today.

An announcement on who Phil Hogan's successor will be, may be made as early as tomorrow.

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