Innuendo pushed me into Cardiff defence: De Rossa
MEP cites unfair 'doing-down' of mandarin
LABOUR Party MEP Proinsias De Rossa has claimed that he is being pushed into a "gung ho" defence of the Government's nominee for the European Court of Auditors, Kevin Cardiff, by people who are "doing him down unfairly" through innuendo and other ways.
Asked by the Sunday Independent where Mr Cardiff's nomination lay now, a government spokesman said yesterday: "The process is still in train. Mr Cardiff retains the confidence and support of the Government. He is eminently capable and qualified for the job."
However, Mr Cardiff's nomination has run into serious opposition in Europe, even among some of the Coalition MEPs like Nessa Childers of Labour and Sean Kelly of Fine Gael.
Responding to suggestions that he was being particularly forceful in his support for the Department of Finance secretary general's candidacy, Mr De Rossa insisted yesterday that he had assessed Mr Cardiff's suitability for the highly-coveted position on his professional qualifications and experience alone.
The Labour Party politician revealed, however, that he had met Mr Cardiff personally a number of weeks ago in Brussels in order that he could better understand him.
Speaking on RTE's Marian Finucane Show yesterday, Mr De Rossa said: "I met him on one occasion a few weeks ago.
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"I made it my business to meet him. I heard he was in Brussels and I asked to meet him because I wanted to meet the man. It's important that you understand and see the person you're going to be making a judgment on."
While Mr De Rossa acknowledged that he was not a member of the Budgetary Control Committee whose members rejected Mr Cardiff's application for the Court of Auditors by 12 votes to 11 last Thursday, he explained his necessity for meeting with him.
"I wouldn't be in judgement on him at the committee because I'm not a member of the committee, but as an MEP, in December, I will have to press the button for him, for or against," he said.
Asked about the infamous €3.6bn 'double counting' error at the Department of Finance which is currently the subject of an internal inquiry, Mr De Rossa strongly defended Mr Cardiff, saying: "The fact that those people responsible at middle management level failed to bring that matter to the attention of those higher up is a failure of the system.
"Organisations are made up of human beings. You cannot take the view that everybody has to be absolutely perfect and there's no such thing as an absolutely perfect system.
"The problems RTE are facing at the moment are an example [of that]. I see no calls for the sacking of the director general of RTE or indeed the chairman of the RTE Authority, and I doubt that they will," he added.
The Labour Party MEP said he had been arguing with his colleagues that the best people needed to be sent out to Europe in order to restore Ireland's reputation there.
And while he didn't refer to revelations at the Dail's European Affairs Committee by Labour Party TDs Colm Keaveney and Joe Costello of the controversial emails from Ireland's serving member on the European Court of Auditors, Eoin O'Shea, to members of the Budgetary Control Committee in which he attempted to scupper Mr Cardiff's candidacy, Mr De Rossa made his displeasure clear.
He said: "In a sense, I'm pushed into being gung ho because others are by innuendo and other ways doing the man down unfairly in my view, based on the record."