Donohoe rules himself out of Commissioner nominations

Party leaders to discuss potential candidates for role after resignation of Phil Hogan

Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe has said he will not be putting his name forward to become Ireland’s next European Commissioner.

Commission President Ursula von Der Leyen has asked the Government to nominate a male and a female candidate for the position after the resignation of Phil Hogan on Wednesday night.

Mr Hogan resigned from his position following controversy over his attendance at a golf society dinner and questions around his movements throughout Ireland before and afterwards.

Mr Donohoe told RTÉ radio's Morning Ireland that he expects the Government to put forward a number of candidates who could "retain" the trade portfolio.

READ MORE

Earlier on Newstalk Breakfast Mr Donohoe said: “Any role in the European Commission would be a great honour for any person who holds it and it is exceptionally important for Ireland, but it is not a role that I would be putting my name forward for.

“I am really lucky and really privileged to be the Minister for Finance for our country. I am so deeply aware of the great challenges that our country faces. That all who are in work, that all who want to go back to work are facing at the moment and I want to play my role in getting us to a better place.”

Mr Donohoe said he was confident that Ireland will put forward a number of candidates that will allow the country retain a strong position on the Commission.

Tánaiste Leo Varadkar, Taoiseach Micheál Martin and Green Party leader Eamon Ryan are due to hold discussions on the potential candidates for the role and sources expect that they will move quickly to announce their preferences.

Mr Varadkar previously said he intends to remain as the leader of Fine Gael and resume the role of taoiseach in two years.

Sources believe the most likely male candidate is Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney.

There is also speculation surrounding David O’Sullivan, formerly the highest-ranking official in the commission and Andrew McDowell, a director of the European Investment Bank and former Fine Gael economic adviser.

The most likely female candidate at this point is sitting MEP Mairead McGuinness or fellow MEP Frances Fitzgerald.

There was speculation in Government circles yesterday that the Minister for Social Protection Heather Humphreys could be the female candidate but sources have said this is very unlikely.