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MEPs get behind Cardiff after critical emails leak

A UNITED effort to get Kevin Cardiff appointed to a top EU job was under way today as a former critic got behind the Government's nomination.

Labour MEP Phil Prendergast did a U-turn today and spoke in support of the Government's nomination of Cardiff as Ireland nominee to the European Court of Auditors.

An email to key MEPs written by the current Irish member of the Court of Auditors Eoin O'Shea criticising Cardiff should not have been written and Mr Cardiff deserves another chance, she said.

Her comments came as Jobs Minister Richard Bruton said: "It appears there were a flurry of emails going on to try and undermine his position."

He argued that Mr Cardiff was "eminently qualified" for the position.

Cardiff's nomination was rejected by the Budget Committee of the European Parliament following criticism by O'Shea and some Irish MEPs.

Cardiff, outgoing Secretary General of the Department of Finance, has retained the support of the Irish Government.

Ms Prendergast told RTE's Morning Ireland today that Mr O'Shea had unduly influenced the outcome of the meeting.

Mr Cardiff had been targeted as a man responsible for supervision of the Irish financial system and for heading a Department that made a €3bn accounting error.

Eoin O'Shea, appointed by Fianna Fail to the Court of Auditors, wrote to two senior MEPs, linking Mr Cardiff to the bank collapse and loan transactions involving Anglo Irish Bank.

He denied that he was trying to undermine Mr Cardiff's nomination or influence a European Parliament committee.

The former Fianna Fail activist has been seeking to be reappointed to the €267,000-a-year job for the next six years.


Mr O'Shea apologised for the email, which he said he wrote in a "moment of madness" when he learned that he was not going to be reappointed.

Labour TDs brought up the previously undisclosed email with Mr O'Shea at a meeting of the Oireachtas European Affairs Committee yesterday.

Mr O'Shea admitted that he had written to two MEPs in the European People's Party and Socialists -- the largest groups in the European Parliament.

The MEPs are the leaders of their groups on the Budgetary Control Committee, which voted down Mr Cardiff's nomination this week.

The committee decided that Mr O'Shea should write to the Government, the European Parliament committee and the president of the parliament, explaining his position.

The European Parliament committee may now vote again on his candidacy.

At the end of the European committee hearing this week, MEPs were warned not to pay attention to the "thousands" of emails they received, asking them to reject his Court of Auditors appointment.

They were also told by the Budgetary Control Committee rapporteur to ignore lobbying from current members of the court.

It has been claimed the Irish Government is moving Mr Cardiff to the EU post due to his links to decisions made under the previous administration.

The Taoiseach said of Mr O'Shea's email: "I was disappointed to find an independent officer of the Court of Auditors making such comments in an email."

Labour MEP Proinsias De Rossa claimed Mr O'Shea "also directly approached MEPs from other member states" about the matter.