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Dublin: 3 °C Thursday 14 November, 2019
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We asked these two ministers who they'd like Ireland's next European Commissioner to be*

* But neither of them wanted to answer the question.

Leo Varadkar and Alan Kelly at an event celebrating 10 years of the Luas today
Leo Varadkar and Alan Kelly at an event celebrating 10 years of the Luas today
Image: Mark Stedman/Photocall Ireland

MINISTERS LEO VARADKAR and Alan Kelly declined to state who they would like to be Ireland’s next European Commissioner when asked this morning.

Despite his fellow Labour junior ministers Joe Costello and Kathleen Lynch expressing clear support for outgoing Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore to get the role, Kelly was in no mood to be as forthcoming today.

When asked who he’d like to fill the vacancy, the Minister of State said: “You can ask me that a thousand times and I am not going to give you that answer.”

In a similar vein the Transport Minister and Fine Gael TD Leo Varadkar declined to say who his preference would be, insisting that it is a matter for the government and primarily the Taoiseach and the Tanaiste.

“Not my call,” he said. “You can ask as many times as you like – not my call.”

Gilmore’s name has only emerged in recent weeks in the wake of his decision to step down as Labour leader and Tánaiste with the post of EU Commissioner long-seen as Environment Minister Phil Hogan’s.

In recent weeks, Fine Gael MEP Mairead McGuinness has also been mentioned as a possible contender.

Who gets the job is likely to be the subject of negotiations between the two coalition parties as soon as the Labour leadership race is sorted out with either Joan Burton or Alex White to be elected this Friday.

Varadkar said today that the commissionership had not been discussed in any detail and pointed out at the president of the Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker was only nominated last week.

“I know there are different names being mentioned. All the names that are being mentioned are very well qualified,” he said diplomatically.

Varadkar also said that it was important that Ireland got a good portfolio with current Irish commissioner Márie Geoghegan-Quinn holding the Research, Innovation and Science post.

“It is important obviously that we have an important commissionership,” Varadkar said.

Meanwhile, Kelly added: “I think it’s important that we put forward someone that is well qualified and somebody who can get a very good portfolio for the country.”

Read: Ministers celebrate 10 years of the Luas by eating cake and listening to gospel music

Read: Costello says Gilmore has the ‘strongest credentials’ for European Commissioner job

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About the author:

Hugh O'Connell

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