Politics

Tuesday 22 July 2014

Anger over MEPs' threat to block Hogan nomination

Niall O'Connor

Published 14/07/2014|02:30

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Phil Hogan. Photo: Tom Burke
Phil Hogan. Photo: Tom Burke

FINE GAEL MEP Brian Hayes has launched a blistering attack on several of his European Parliament colleagues after they threatened to campaign against the nomination of Phil Hogan as EU Commissioner.

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Ireland's MEPs were at war last night after questions were raised over Mr Hogan's suitability for the coveted post.

Independent MEPs Nessa Childers and Luke 'Ming' Flanagan have voiced opposition to Mr Hogan's nomination, along with the Sinn Fein delegation of Matt Carthy, Liadh Ni Riada and Lynn Boylan.

In response Mr Hayes has accused Ms Childers of seeking media attention and the Sinn Fein representatives of being "nothing more than a mouthpiece for the political junta of their party back home".

Mr Carthy, who represents the Midlands-North-West constituency, said at the weekend that Mr Hogan's appointment of Fine Gael members to state boards should preclude him from being appointed.

"This is a real case of jobs for the boys – the Taoiseach is rewarding someone who played a crucial role in his retention of the Fine Gael leadership during the 2010 heave, regardless of the unsuitability of Phil Hogan to be Ireland's next commissioner," Mr Carthy said.

Dublin MEP Nessa Childers suggested that another candidate should be found as a result of Mr Hogan's record on travellers.

But senior government sources described threats to campaign against Mr Hogan's nomination as "ludicrous and opportunistic".

"If Phil had the backing of all these opposition MEPs, there's be something wrong," one minister said.

And last night, Independent MEP Marian Harkin said opposing Mr Hogan's nomination "is not the way to do business".

"While I am very annoyed at what Mr Hogan has done with the LEADER programme, I am not opposed to his nomination. That would not be positive or purposeful," she told the Irish Independent.

Response

The criticism of Mr Hogan's ministerial record prompted a robust response from former junior finance minister and Dublin MEP Brian Hayes.

Mr Hayes described he criticism as "astonishing" given that Mr Hogan has not had the opportunity to come before a hearing of MEPs.

"In relation to Nessa Childers, she is clearly seeking media attention because it's the only time in the five years she will get it," Mr Hayes told the Irish Independent last night.

"But to see Sinn Fein make a political football out of this is disappointing but hardly surprising.

"Anything Sinn Fein do in the European Parliament is all about Sinn Fein. Anything they do has nothing to do with Ireland's interest, it has nothing to do with helping the country," Mr Hayes added.

Irish Independent

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