Rejection of Kevin Cardiff a humiliation for Ireland – Shane Ross
THE Government is to challenge MEPs who rejected its nomination of a senior finance chief to a top job in Europe, Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore has claimed.
The Budgetary Affairs Committee of the European Parliament voted against career civil servant Kevin Cardiff for a role on the European Court of Auditors by a single ballot yesterday.
Independent TD Shane Ross described yesterday's vote against Mr Cardiff as a huge embarrassment.
"This result was a humiliation not just for the candidate, it was a humiliation for the Government and a humiliation for the country," said Mr Ross.
He condemned the Government for nominating "the sole survivor" of the "shameful" night of the bank guarantee.
But Tanaiste Gilmore said the Government will not accept the decision of the Budgetary Affairs committee as final and will stand by its nomination of Mr Cardiff, current secretary general of the Department of Finance.
"A report from that committee will go to the plenary session of the European Parliament and it's the plenary session that makes the decision," said Mr Gilmore.
The plenary session of the European Parliament is where the Parliament formally sits to vote European Union legislation and makes clear its own position on political issues.
Mr Gilmore said: "We were surprised at the motion that was taken at the committee yesterday and it didn't reflect the discussion at the committee.
"Mr Cardiff is the Government's nominee. That remains the position."
The nomination of Mr Cardiff to the job, with a pay packet of about €276,000 has created much controversy in Dublin and Brussels as he has held some of the top roles in the Department of Finance in the last few years.
Mr Cardiff played a key role in the EU-IMF negotiations a year ago and was secretary general when a €3.6 billion accounting error was this year discovered to have been double counted and incorrectly added to Government debt.
He was also present on the night of September 30 2008 when the Government agreed the €440 billion bank deposit guarantee scheme.
The Tanaiste also came under fire from Sinn Fein TD Mary Lou McDonald who accused the Government of cronyism in nominating Mr Cardiff in the first place.
"The days where Government remove officials by promoting them to a job in Europe need to be left behind," said Ms McDonald.
"We need real accountability at the top."
Mr Gilmore insisted the Government's decision to nominate Mr Cardiff was based purely on the fact that he was the most appropriate man for the job.