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Sunday 3 December 2023 Dublin: 0°C
Mark Stedman

Phil Hogan's making legal threats against an Irish MEP

Here’s Childers’ letter she sent the the European Legal Affairs Committee last night.

Updated 10.30am

IRISH MEP NESSA Childers has complained to the European Parliament’s Committee on Legal Affairs over letters threatening legal action she has received from former Environment Minister and Ireland’s Commissioner-Designate Phil Hogan.

Legal letters

The legal threats from Hogan relate to a strongly-worded letter Childers wrote to 191 MEPs from the Socialists and Democrats grouping in September about “serious reservations” she had over Hogan’s European appointment because of representations he made in relation to council accommodation when he was a Carlow-Kilkenny TD.

It is understood that she received three letters from Hogan’s legal team asking her to withdraw her statements before she complained to the legal affairs committee.

Childers maintains she her legal advisers have said she has parliamentary privilege to make such comments about the appointment under article 8 of the Protocol on Privileges and Immunities of the European Union.

Last night she sent this letter to the legal affairs committee:

Dear Mr. Svoboda, Dear Pavel,

I am writing to you in your capacity as chairman of the Legal Affairs Committee of the European Parliament, regarding legal correspondence I have received from the counsel of Irish Commissioner-designate, Mr. Phil Hogan, TD.Mr. Hogan acted in reaction to a letter I circulated to Members of the European Parliament, which I enclose, drawing their attention to information on actions he performed while serving as a Member of Dáil Éireann, the Irish Parliament, and as Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government, and which are available on public domain, as well as to my views on the Commissioner-designate’s suitability to serve as a member of the European Commission, in light of such information.

Mr. Hogan subsequently declared, on national radio: “that the assertions made by Nessa Childers are absolute rubbish and they will be dealt with at the European Parliament, if they arise, and they will be dealt with in the courts, in due course.”

I am also enclosing the three letters I have accordingly received from Mr. Hogan’s attorneys, the latest of which I received this afternoon.

My legal counsel indicates that my statements come within the scope of article 8 of the Protocol on Privileges and Immunities of the European Union, as construed by the Patriciello case of the European Court of Justice.

Nevertheless, other Members of the European Parliament were made aware of the possibility of impending legal charges by Mr. Hogan’s public statement of intent on this matter.

Were Mr. Hogan’s reaction to preclude (or dissuade, to the same effect) these issues from being broached at the Commissioner-designate hearings by MEPs, this would seriously prejudge the scrutiny which is incumbent upon the members of Parliament’s Committee in charge.

Notwithstanding Mr. Hogan and his counsel’s views on the scope of the privileges and immunities as they apply to MEPs in the exercise of their duties, and the legal cases he has mounted against some of the media outlets over their coverage of his actions, this matter warrants further scrutiny.

Since Mr. Hogan’s actions came to light, he has shielded himself behind the argument that this is a matter for the courts, on foot of the cases he has launched …

… Should Mr. Hogan be allowed to dismiss the matter at his hearing by merely alluding to on-going legal cases he mounted against opinions expressed, and conflate those with reported facts that remain unchallenged, we will have failed, at least partially, I believe, in our duty of scrutiny which our mandate entails.

I am not, however, a member of the Agriculture and Rural Development Committee of the European Parliament, and am therefore unable to question Mr. Hogan at the hearing.

I thus kindly request your assistance, as Chairman of the Legal Affairs Committee of the European Parliament, in charge of the legal protection of Parliament’s rights and prerogatives as well as privileges and immunities, to reassure the Members of the European Parliament that they can discharge their duties of scrutiny without hindrance or fear of legal retaliation.

I would be grateful if you could give this matter urgent consideration, given the seriousness and implications of impending legal action in direct connection with next week’s hearings of Commissioners-designate in the European Parliament.

Thank you for your attention.

Kind regards,


Nessa Childers MEP

First published 08.30am

Read: My “track record of delivering” won me EU role, says Hogan>

Explainer: Phil Hogan’s set to be named as Agriculture Commissioner … but what happens next?>

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