Thursday 21 September 2017

Hogan is tight-lipped on €250k Euro job prospects

Michael Brennan Deputy Political Editor

ENVIRONMENT Minister Phil Hogan has refused to rule himself out for a €250,000-per-year European post.

The term of Ireland's current EU Commissioner, Maire Geoghegan Quinn, expires next year and Taoiseach Enda Kenny will have the power to nominate her replacement.

Mr Hogan, who has been tipped for the post along with Education Minister Ruairi Quinn, refused to rule himself out when asked about it on RTE's 'Today with Sean O'Rourke' show.

"I'll leave all that to the Taoiseach. He's a very wise person. I'll wait till he rings me," he said.

But a government source cautioned that Mr Kenny had given no indication of who was going to be nominated for the post – and that the Labour Party would also have to be consulted.

It came as the latest proposals for the European election constituencies raised the prospect of a no-holds barred election battle between Fine Gael MEPs Mairead McGuinness and Jim Higgins.

In their official submissions, Fine Gael, Labour and Sinn Fein are all supporting a three-seat Dublin euro constituency with the rest of the country split into two giant North-South constituencies.

BATTLE

That would wipe out Ms McGuinness's current Ireland East constituency and force her to move into the new "North" constituency containing her Louth and Meath base.

And it would pit her against Fine Gael's Ireland North West MEP Jim Higgins.

The final decision will be made by the independent European Parliament Constituency Committee, which is expected to publish its recommendations at the end of this month.

Ms McGuinness said she would be running in the constituency which contained her home base of Louth and Meath.

Mr Higgins said it was impossible to predict the final make-up of the constituencies.

"But if it's a four-seater North constituency, I would be very confident we would hold two seats, given the fact that myself and Mairead are at the furthest possible ends of the constituency in Mayo and Louth," he said.

The number of constituencies is dropping from four to three due to the number of MEPs in next year's European election dropping from 12 to 11.

Fine Gael, Labour and Sinn Fein are in favour of having three seats in Dublin, four in a South constituency (Munster and Leinster South) and four in a North constituency (Ulster, Connacht and Leinster North).

Irish Independent

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