Paschal Donohoe does not totally rule out bid to lead IMF

Minister reiterates position there is no vacancy at the top and he is focused on current role

Minister for Public Expenditure Paschal Donohoe has reiterated his position that his sole interest in public life is in “continuing my work in Irish and European politics” but nevertheless did not categorically rule out a future bid to become head of the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

Mr Donohoe said on Wednesday that the question of him becoming the managing director of the IMF did not arise as there was no vacancy in the organisation.

Last week, Blomberg reported that Mr Donohoe’s name was being mentioned as a successor to Kristalina Georgieva, should she not continue into a second term in the role.

Earlier this week, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar strongly denied that the Government had launched a campaign to back Mr Donohoe for the role.


The Minister was speaking at the National College of Art and Design in Thomas Street, Dublin, after he launched a new action plan for designing better public services.

“I’ve been very clear that my interest is in continuing my work in Irish and European politics. I’m very privileged to be a member of this Government, and a TD for Dublin Central.

“I’ve been re-elected to a second term as President of the Eurogroup. That’s where my focus is, on completing that work.”

Asked repeatedly if he was categorically pulling out taking on the IMF role, he responded there was no vacancy but at the same time did not specifically rule out applying if a vacancy were to arise in the future.

“There is currently a managing director for the IMF in place who is doing an excellent job. And I have seen first-hand the excellent work that Kristalina Georgieva is doing and at some point she will make a decision.

“I’m very clear on what I’m doing, which is continuing in my work as a TD, as a Minister and as President of the Eurogroup.”

He said for many years he had been asked by the media about his future ambitions and had answered the question honestly.

“I’m going to continue with the work I have and see it through. We have a general election coming up in Ireland at some point in the next 12 to 18 months. I believe the parties that are in government at the moment have the ability to campaign individually, but get re-elected and for this government to be reformed. That’s where my energy will lie.”

Asked about an interview with RTÉ's Morning Ireland on Wednesday in which Minister for Finance Michael McGrath did not fully exclude the possibility of him becoming a commissioner, Mr Donohoe said: “I know how much Michael McGrath values being Minister for Finance and I’ve seen what an exceptional job he is doing in that role.

“I’m equally clear that I believe that Michael would perform exceptionally in any number of roles in the future. I think he’s an exceptionally accomplished colleague and politician. But like me, he’s focused on what he’s doing at the moment.”

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Harry McGee

Harry McGee

Harry McGee is a Political Correspondent with The Irish Times