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  • irishtimes.com - Posted: October 31, 2009 @ 12:35 pm

    Commissioner Coughlan?

    Harry McGee

    Nah. It’s not going to happen.

    But the theory surrounding her candidacy is fascinating. It goes like this:

    If she is offered the job, Cowen rids himself of a recurring headache in Cabinet – her poor and unauthotitative performance as Tánaiste.

    Her move to Brussels would also tick the gender balance box.

    Thirdly. Agriculture will be one of the key portfolios on offer. Who better than the politician who cann deem herself a success in that job.

    But what about the by-election? Didn’t Seamus Kirk’s elevation to Ceann Comhairle put paid to any TD getting the job?

    Well. Yes, but…. Couglan is from Donegal and her constituency Donegal South West is unusual in this respect. There is already a vacancy in the three-seater following Pat the Cope Gallagher’s ection as an MEP.

    If Couglan was appointhed, we would have a brand new animal in electoral history, a by-election for two seats in one constituency.

    There would be only one election. Under our STV PR system, byelections for one seat are held exactly like multiple seat elections. That would mean one election for two seats. That would mean the FF candidate would require to win 33 per cent of the votes plus one vote rather than 50 per cent plus one in a one seat election.

    Doable, say some. If Pearse Doherty romps home FF will benefit from his surplus more than Fine Gael.

    It’s not going to happen, in my view. Coughlan will stay put. Cowen knows that even in Donegal 33 per cent may be too much to ask given the Government’s unpopularity.

    Pat Cox is my guess on the basis that he has been instru
    ental in steering Lisbon through. Maire Geoghegan Quinn has been too long away from the public gaze.

    • Stephen Rea, Dublin says:

      Coughlan would be a poor choice – she seems to ‘go through the motions’ in the posts she holds and her on-air gaffes do not inspire confidence. She might come across worse in Europe particularly if the gaffes come at high-profile press conferences or while being quizzed by an EU Parliamentary Committee at ratificaton or later.

      There are approximately 30 candidates in the hat for President of the European Union. John Bruton wants a big EU post and has just finished five years as EU Ambassador to Washington. If he does not get this John Bruton would be an excellent Commissioner and could mend political fences all over the place including inspiring some more productive politics on the domestic Irish front.

    • Pat McAuliffe says:

      As a card carrying member of FF I stand a better chance of getting the Commissioner’s job than John Bruton. Regardless of his CV Bruton has nil chance of the Irish Commissioner’s job and I’m not being party political (really) but I also believe he has a very slim chance of the EU President’s job. There is no way under the sun that Cowen will appoint a non-FF’er as Commissioner ( Cox apart, & even then he is a former FF’er) It’s MGQ, Eoin Ryan & Pat Cox and this has all to do with electoral arithmetic. The dark horse in my opinion is Catherine Day of the EU Commission.

    • KScott says:

      Surely even Cowen is not stupid enough to damage even further Ireland’s recently-acquired reputation for dumb economic profligacy.

      The woman is clearly not fit for purpose in the position she already holds. Let us not shame ourselves even further.

    • Send Máire Geoghegan Quinn down the road from the Court of Auditors to the Commission. As our representative on the latter, she will be familiar with areas of waste and the lack of transparency in the EU budget, which has not been signed-off on for 15 years. Cox is too much of an insider. As Commissioner, MGQ would be more likely to crack down on sleaze at the Commission.

    • We need people like Coughlan in Irish politics. Her gaffes keep everyone else in governmnet on their toes. They’re less likely to tell porky pies if they think Mary is only going to spew out the truth on the Dail floor the next day. How dare she.

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