THE MINISTER FOR the Environment has moved to quash speculation linking him with the role of European Commissioner.
However, Phil Hogan added that while he may be going nowhere, the Fine Gael rebels who lost the party whip have “no way back” into the party fold.
Hogan was speaking to Seán O’Rourke today when he said that the like of Lucinda Creighton, Dennis Naughten and Peter Mathews would not be welcomed back into the fold.
“I think the Taoiseach made it clear that there would be no way back for those people.
“I won’t be asked for my advice [on nominations]. It’ll be a matter for the national executive and Taoiseach.”
Hogan said that the move to expel the six TDs and two senators was not “political totalitarianism” and said that he would have “no difficulty” allowing the independent TDs speaking rights, or with the TDs starting their own party.
“We’ve been down this road before with the Progressive Democrats and other parties. They can put their case to the electorate and the electorate will decide.”
Hogan finished by telling O’Rourke that he has not discussed any move to Europe, where he is being touted to replace Máire Geoghegan Quinn as commissioner.
“I am delighted to be the Minister for the environment and a member of the cabinet that is taking us out of the economic mess we’re in and securing the future of the country.
I leave that decision to the Taoiseach. We’ll wait until he rings me.