THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT has this morning approved the nomination of Kevin Cardiff, the chief civil servant at the Department of Finance, to the European Court of Auditors.
In a vote at the Parliament’s plenary session in Strasbourg, Cardiff’s nomination was approved by 521 votes to 128.
34 members abstained from the secret ballot on his candidacy, which was voted upon by a near full-house at the plenary session. There was little drama to proceedings, with no debate held on his nomination.
The approval of the parliament clears the way for Cardiff’s appointment to the post, which becomes vacant on March 1.
The overwhelming approval from MEPs was virtually assured after the three largest parliamentary groupings – representing some 547 MEPs, and the three main political parties in Ireland – all said they would back him.
Fianna Fáil MEP Pat ‘the Cope’ Gallagher said Cardiff was “eminently qualified and competent” to fulfil the duties asked of him, and said he had voted in favour of Cardiff “in the national interest”.
The full parliament’s approval comes despite its Budgetary Control Committee delivering a “negative opinion” on Cardiff’s candidacy, reportedly amid concerns of a conflict of interest if he was appointed to the position.
The 10 MEPs from the European People’s Party – the largest grouping in the parliament, of which Fine Gael is a member – had voted against backing Cardiff amid concerns that he could be asked to audit European bailout spending in Ireland after playing a major role in securing the EU-IMF deal.
Yesterday those MEPs confirmed that they would be backing Cardiff’s candidacy “based on further responses to technical questions” they had submitted.
The nomination of Cardiff to the job, based in Luxembourg, means an opening at the top of the Department of Finance, for which the government had sought provisional applications last month.
He will take up the €263,766 position on March 1, when the tenure of Ireland’s current member Eoin O’Shea expires.
O’Shea was appointed to the role early last year after the previous incumbent, Maire Geoghegan-Quinn, left to join the European Commission.
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