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Máire Geoghegan-Quinn was nominated as a European Commissioner in 2009 after ten years on the European Court of Auditors. Sasko Lazarov/Photocall Ireland

Geoghegan-Quinn got EU job ‘because Barroso demanded a female nominee’ – WikiLeaks

Cables given to the Irish Independent suggest that the European Commission urged Ireland to choose a female commissioner.

IRELAND’S EUROPEAN COMMISSIONER Máire Geoghegan-Quinn was given the nod to take up the prize position after the President of the European Commission, Jose Manuel Barroso, urged Brian Cowen to nominate a woman.

That is the suggestion of a leaked US embassy cable obtained by WikiLeaks and supplied to the Irish Independent, which is this week publishing details of some 1,903 cables tagged as being relevant to Ireland.

The cable – written by the US’s second-in-command Robert Faucher after a meeting with John Callinan, the second-highest civil servant within the Department of the Taoiseach – explains that Cowen had been considering nominating either Pat Cox or John Bruton to the Commission.

Either candidate would have been considered worthy of the job, with Cox being a former MEP and President of the European Parliament, while former taoiseach John Bruton had just finished his term as EU ambassador to Washington.

But Cowen was ultimately convinced to offer the post to former minister Geoghegan-Quinn because she was a Fianna Fáil member and had served on the European Court of Auditors – and because she was female, the cable reports.

10 of the 27 current European Commissioners are female.

Read more on the WikiLeaks cables in the print edition of today’s Irish Independent >

Our previous coverage of Irish cables:

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