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McGrath nominated as Ireland’s next European Commissioner

By June 26, 2024No Comments

Minister for Finance Michael McGrath has been nominated as Ireland’s next European Commissioner.

The move was agreed by Government party leaders last night before being formally approved by a meeting of the Cabinet this morning, when Taoiseach Simon Harris presented the nomination to the Government.

Mr McGrath has thanked his Cabinet colleagues, saying it was “an incredible honour to receive the nomination from the Irish Government for the role of EU commissioner” and he is “delighted” to accept it.

Speaking at Government Buildings, he said he leaves the Department of Finance with the economy in very good health.

“We are running large budget surpluses. Our national debt is falling. Our credit rating has improved.”

He thanked Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Paschal Donohoe, who he described as a “collegiate and supportive colleague” and congratulated his party colleague Jack Chambers, who will replace him as Minister for Finance.

Mr McGrath has said he will continue his public service “on a different stage” and said he enjoyed his time over the past four years at the departments of public expenditure and finance.

He thanked his family, the people in his Cork constituency, and his party leader Micheál Martin.

He said he was leaving the Department of Finance at a time when the Irish economy was in good health.

During his time as Minister for Finance over the last 18 months, Mr McGrath represented Ireland at the Eurogroup and Economic and Financial Affairs Council.

He regularly met EU Commissioners and the ECB President, and would therefore be well known in the European system.

Mr McGrath is also a governor on a range of international bodies on behalf of Ireland including the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and the European Investment Bank.

He is viewed as having a strong chance of landing a job in the top tier of economic commissioner roles.

Mr McGrath has said an economic or financial portfolio would “seem to be an obvious area” where his skills could be used at European level.

Asked about what portfolio he would hope to get, Mr McGrath said: “It is something we will discuss collectively over the days ahead.

“Obviously, the background that I have, my own qualifications, my political experience, all lie in the broad economic and financial area and that would seem to be an obvious area where my skills can be deployed.

“But it is something we will discuss over the days ahead. And as you know, when it comes to the allocation of different portfolios by the President of the Commission, there are many factors that come into play.”

Taoiseach Simon Harris said Mr McGrath has the skills and experience to excel as a European commissioner.

“I’m conscious that under our coalition agreement, this was a name brought forward by the Fianna Fáil party, but I want to be very clear that this is a nominee for Ireland, and everybody in the Irish Government will proudly get behind Michael McGrath as our next EU commissioner,” he said.

Mr Harris said Mr McGrath would be Ireland’s 12th EU commissioner since the country joined the EU in 1973.

“His new role though will not only be above party politics, but also above national politics too,” the Taoiseach added.

“As soon-to-be Commissioner McGrath will be tasked to take decisions in the European interest.”

Mr Martin praised Mr McGrath for his “shrewd stewardship” of the economy in his time as both finance minister and minister for public expenditure.

“I think one of this great legacies will be the Future Ireland Fund and the Climate Infrastructure Fund, which are about future-proofing this country and creating certain guarantees in terms of pensions and so forth into the future for generations to come, but also in terms of infrastructure, and making sure we can meet the needs of the future.

“I was conscious in bringing forward a recommendation that we would nominate, as a government, somebody of very, very high calibre for the position on the European Commission, and nobody can doubt the high calibre of Michael in terms of his abilities and his capacities. And I congratulate him on his recommendation from Government, to be chosen as nominee, and I wish him the very, very best in the time ahead.”

Mr Martin said his Fianna Fáil colleague had always demonstrated an ability to work on a “bipartisan basis and to work in the interests of Ireland”.

Additional reporting PA

Article Source – McGrath nominated as Ireland’s next European Commissioner – RTE

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