Donohoe considering Irish candidate for senior ECB post

Front runner for ECB vice-presidency is a Spanish politician

Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe is to update the Cabinet on Tuesday on whether he will nominate an Irish candidate for the post of ECB vice-president. While the front runner for the job is a Spanish politician, Mr Donohoe is understood to be giving serious consideration to putting forward an Irish candidate.

ECB vice-president Vitor Constancio is to retire in May. Spanish economy minister Luis de Guindos is seen as the front runner, though may face some opposition as he would be seen as a political appointee.

Mr Donohoe may nominate Central Bank governor Philip Lane who would be seen as a strong candidate. Another possible Irish candidate would be deputy governor Sharon Donnery, who is also well regarded in Frankfurt


Executive position

The ECB vice-president's job is an executive position that also includes board membership of the bank's key policymaking committee. It is one of a number of executive board positions due to fall vacant over the next year and a half. Ireland has never had an executive board position and the Minister must decide whether to nominate on this occasion or hold fire for one of the subsequent positions.

Mr Lane would also be seen as a strong contender for the job of ECB chief economist, though it does not fall vacant until next year. Ms Donnery also has a high profile in Frankfurt and could benefit from a push to have more women candidates for senior ECB positions. The jobs are decided by euro-zone finance ministers and are typically the result of political horse-trading, with positions divided between different part of the euro zone, for example involving a mix between northern and southern Europe.

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