Tuesday 16 January 2018

New job as eurocrat 'will be a doddle'

Emmet Oliver

Kevin Cardiff, the normally stony-faced mandarin who heads up the Department of Finance, is not known for overt displays of emotion, but yesterday a baying mob of politicans seemed to push him just too far.

"I have served this country as diligently as I can," an emotional Mr Cardiff told the politicians on the Public Accounts Committee who spent several hours grilling him on his stewardship of the Department and the curious case of the €3.6bn debt which never was.

Mr Cardiff, who departs for the European Court of Auditors early next year, faced down criticism he should take the blame for the €3.6bn accounting error. Mr Cardiff was having none of it. "The worrying thing is I had so little a role," he said.

Equally Mr Cardiff, his voice almost breaking, took great exception to suggestions from Sinn Fein TD Mary Lou McDonald he should think about stepping down over the error.

"My record has been very solid," he told the committee and while bad things happened during his time, he was more the victim of circumstances than anything else.

"Is the helmsman in the middle of the storm actually creating the storm, or is he actually keeping the ship afloat," he cryptically asked the assembled deputies.

"The court of auditors will be a doddle compared to this job," Cardiff assured Ms McDonald.

However, Independent TD Shane Ross was not impressed, accusing Cardiff of leaving Dublin for Europe with his "saddle bags full".

Mr Cardiff refused to give a guarantee to Deputy Ross that he would clear up the €3.6bn mess before leaving. But he did say he would do his "best".

Irish Independent

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