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Simon Coveney not ruling himself out for EU Commissioner post

Former Tánaiste Frances Fitzgerald has said she is interested in the role.

Image: RollingNews.ie

MINISTER FOR FOREIGN Affairs Simon Coveney has said he is not ruling himself out as a candidate for the Irish EU Commissioner post. 

Coveney has been tipped as the person who will succeed Phil Hogan. Speaking to RTÉ’s News at One, Coveney said he was not ruling himself out but said he does not have a decision to make until there is a request from the government.

He said national politics has been “a huge part of my life and still is” and the only reason he would consider a change in focus is if he felt he could add to Ireland’s chances to increase our influence in the Commission. 

“I would need to have a very good reason to move away from the focus I have at the moment, which is a privilege and hugely important,” he said. 

Earlier, former Tánaiste Frances Fitzgerald said she is interested in becoming the next Irish EU Commissioner. The former Justice Minister and MEP confirmed to TheJournal.ie that she wants to be considered for the job.

“Yes, I am interested of course in being considered for such an important and challenging position,” she said.

Fitzgerald follows Máiread McGuinness in expressing interest in the role which was previously held by Phil Hogan.

Fitzgerald acknowledged that it is a “difficult and demanding decision for government” with the Covid-19 pandemic ongoing and with Brexit around the corner. 

“I recognise there are a number of candidates with different skill sets, including my own,” she said.

Yesterday, McGuinness cited her years of work in Brussels and made clear her ambition to succeed Phil Hogan, who resigned as EU trade commissioner last week.

Discussions of who the Irish government will put forward to fill the role will continue this week after the  EU called on Dublin to put forward a male and female candidate.

Tánaiste Leo Varadkar and Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe ruled themselves out of the running last week.

Veteran politician Hogan faced deep disquiet from the Irish Government and intense scrutiny of whether his extensive movements around the country broke coronavirus regulations.

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His resignation came a week after revelations of the golf dinner emerged.

President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen said she respected the resignation of Hogan, adding that she was “very grateful” for his “tireless and successful work”.

- With reporting by Michelle Hennessy.

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