This site uses cookies to improve your experience and to provide services and advertising. By continuing to browse, you agree to the use of cookies described in our Cookies Policy. You may change your settings at any time but this may impact on the functionality of the site. To learn more see our Cookies Policy.
OK
Dublin: 9 °C Wednesday 12 December, 2018
Advertisement

TDs seek urgent meeting with MEPs over Cardiff vote

TDs ask for a meeting to discuss Eoin O’Shea’s emails – as an influential MEP calls for a second meeting on Kevin Cardiff.

Joe Costello says his EU Affairs committee will be seeking an urgent meeting with MEPs before they vote on appointing Kevin Cardiff.
Joe Costello says his EU Affairs committee will be seeking an urgent meeting with MEPs before they vote on appointing Kevin Cardiff.
Image: Mark Stedman/Photocall Ireland

THE OIREACHTAS COMMITTEE which yesterday heard about Eoin O’Shea’s unprecedented emails to two influential MEPs – raising concerns about the merits of Kevin Cardiff’s nomination to replace him on the EU’s auditing authority – has sought an urgent meeting with the European Committee which voted against his appointment earlier this week.

Labour TD Joe Costello, who chaired yesterday’s dramatic meeting in which details of O’Shea’s emails were first disclosed, told TheJournal.ie that he has contacted the chairman of the European Parliamentary committee on Budgetary Control, Dutch MEP Jan Mulder, seeking a meeting to discuss the developments.

The Oireachtas committee on EU Affairs is now expected to meet again next week, in order to appoint a delegation who will travel to meet Mulder and a delegation from the European committee ahead of a final vote of the entire European Parliament on whether Cardiff should be appointed.

The disclosure that O’Shea – Ireland’s current member on the EU Court of Auditors, whose term of office ends in February – had contacted two MEPs sharing reservations about Cardiff’s role in the activities of Irish banks is seen as a major and unprecedented intervention in the appointment process.

Fallout

Mulder is also to be supplied with a transcript of yesterday’s Oireachtas meeting, as are the Taoiseach, Tánaiste and the minister of state for European Affairs, who may now have to deal with the diplomatic fallout from the incident.

Labour TD Colm Keaveney, who was the first TD to be given a copy of O’Shea’s emails, said the government had “invested a lot of time and effort in the restoration of Brand Ireland” and that this could be at risk by O’Shea’s actions.

“This is not a time for civil servants, appointed to a very important post, to play students’ union politics,” he said.

TheJournal.ie understands that O’Shea himself is to write to those three Irish ministers, and also to the president of the European Parliament, Jerzy Buzek, to outline his actions.

Though the vote of the European committee is not totally binding – the committee merely voted on whether to deliver a “favourable” or “negative” opinion on Cardiff’s nomination – its verdict is seen by many as a barometer of whether he could get the position.

The final vote on Cardiff’s appointment, at a plenary session of all 736 MEPs in Strasbourg, is set for Tuesday 13 December – giving MEPs a little over a fortnight to make their decisions on whether to support him.

O’Shea told yesterday’s Oireachtas committee that while he regretted sending the emails, and apologised for doing so, he did not believe they influenced the outcome of Wednesday’s vote – which Cardiff lost by 12 votes to 11.

The two recipients of the email are the two convenors of the largest groupings on the committee – Ingeborg Grässle, who leads the ten-strong European People’s Party grouping, and Jens Geier who heads the group of eight Socialists and Democrats.

Between them, the two theoretically control 18 votes out of the 29 on the committee – and yesterday Grässle disclosed she had voted against Cardiff because she had wanted another meeting in order to put further questions to Cardiff.

Grässle told RTÉ she would ask December’s plenary session to refer Cardiff’s appointment back to the committee, so that they could hold a further hearing on his candidacy.

She said the socialist members on the committee – who are led by Geier – and others had refused to allow the meeting to be postponed, and that she had voted against Cardiff on that basis.

Irish rep on Court of Auditors: I emailed MEPs to lobby against Cardiff

In numbers: why you’d want to be on the EU Court of Auditors

Gilmore: Kevin Cardiff ‘remains the government nominee’ for EU job

  • Share on Facebook
  • Email this article
  •  

About the author:

Gavan Reilly

Read next:

COMMENTS (21)