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Dublin: 12 °C Monday 19 August, 2019

Irish MEPs divided on Kevin Cardiff's rejection by EU committee

The Government will meet today to discuss the fallout from yesterday’s vote.

Kevin Cardiff
Kevin Cardiff
Image: Mark Stedman/Photocall Ireland

Updated, 10.55

THE GOVERNMENT WILL meet today to discuss the rejection of Kevin Cardiff by an EU committee, as rifts emerged between Irish MEPs over yesterday’s vote.

Kevin Cardiff, the outgoing head of the Department of Finance, was nominated by the Government to the EU Court of Auditors with responsibility for overseeing the EU’s accounts.

However, a committee yesterday voted by a slim majority to reject his nomination, amid controversy over his link to a €3.6billion error in Ireland’s finances.

The nomination will now be considered by the European parliament. Labour MEP Proinsias de Rossa said yesterday that the committee’s rapporteur would still recommend Cardiff’s appointment to the parliament, as she believes the vote was not an “accurate reflection” of his nomination hearing.

De Rossa told Newstalk Breakfast today that he would still support Cardiff’s nomination, saying he believed he had all the right qualities to do the job.

However, his party colleague Nessa Childers MEP tweeted yesterday that Cardiff’s rejection was  a “victory for democracy”. She told RTÉ’s Morning Ireland that the committee’s vote should be “heeded”, adding: “There seems to have been an inability to accept the result of the vote.”

‘Own goal’

Speaking on the same show, Fianna Fáil MEP Pat the Cope Gallagher hit out at unnamed parliamentary colleagues, saying Cardiff’s rejection was caused by “confusion which was caused by Irish MEPs.” He said the vote was a “major, major own goal” for Ireland.

However, Sinn Féin has criticised the Government for not withdrawing Cardiff’s nomination despite criticism of his time at the Department of Finance.

Mary Lou McDonald TD said: “Handing out plum jobs for top dogs in the public sector even when they are clearly not the best person for the job is simply unacceptable.”

In the Dáil this morning, independent TD Shane Ross described Cardiff’s committee defeat as “a humiliation for the government and a humiliation for Ireland”.

Cardiff’s nomination will now be considered by the European Parliament at a plenary session in December. If no decision is made there, it could also be pushed on to the EU council of finance ministers.

In a CV submitted to the EU’s Budgetary Control Committee, Cardiff pledged to withdraw his application if the European Parliament’s opinion on his appointment was “unfavourable”.

Ireland’s outgoing appointment to the Court of Auditors, Eoin O’Shea, will today brief the Oireachtas European Union Affairs Committees on what exactly the court does.

Read more: Kevin Cardiff still in with chance of EU job: De Rossa>

Read more: Kevin Cardiff misses EU job by one vote>

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Michael Freeman

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