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My "track record of delivering" won me EU role, says Hogan

Phil Hogan’s been named as Agriculture Commisioner. His record of “being able to deliver in difficult circumstances” swung the job for him, he says.

Image: Laura Hutton/Photocall Ireland

FORMER ENVIRONMENT MINISTER Phil Hogan has said his “track record of delivering” in Irish politics was a key factor considered by incoming EU Commission boss Jean-Claude Juncker in deciding who gets which job in the team.

Hogan was nominated as Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Affairs this morning, as had been widely expected.

Speaking to RTÉ’s Sean O’Rourke shortly after the announcement, he said that he had had “some idea” he was likely to get the role after a meeting with Juncker last week.

He said that his record of “being able to deliver in difficult circumstances” over almost three decades in Irish national politics helped convince the new EU Commission President that he was the right candidate.

In particular, his performance as a minister since 2011 would have come “into play significantly” he said.

The Government has been lobbying hard to see Hogan named in the role in recent months. Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney said today that Ireland “sees this appointment as securing a major economic portfolio with controls 40 per cent of the EU Budget”.

“The Taoiseach had an important role in ensuring we got it,” Hogan said, noting that Enda Kenny’s strong relationship with Juncker helped in the process.

Hogan will face questioning before the European Parliament agriculture committee before he’s confirmed in the role, where he’s set to face a grilling on his record in Irish politics from the likes of Sinn Féin’s Matt Carthy and Independent Luke ‘Ming’ Flanagan.

The entire European Parliament then votes next month on the entire Commission line-up (it can’t veto individual members).

The Kilkenny politician said there was likely to be some “rattling the cage for domestic purposes” during the confirmation hearing, but that he expected the majority of the agriculture panel to back his candidacy.

He also rejected claims made by Nessa Childers last week regarding letters he wrote in 2012 regarding the granting of social housing to a Traveller family.

“The assertions made by Nessa Childers are absolute rubbish,” Hogan said.

They will be dealt with the European Parliament if they arise, and they will be dealt with in the courts in due course.

He was also asked to respond to a report at the weekend that he was knew that tens of millions of Euro was to be spent on external services during the set-up of Irish Water, months before he told reporters he wasn’t aware of the precise break-down.

Hogan described it as “a silly season story” and said that he “didn’t expect that anyone would set up a new company without spending some money,” adding:

I certainly indicated that there was an overall figure required to establish a new company.

Read: Leaked chart names Phil Hogan as Agriculture Commissioner … but can it be trusted?

Opinion: Big Phil wasn’t the best option for Europe… it should have been Lucinda

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