Hogan accepts talk of commission job

 

MINISTER FOR the Environment Phil Hogan has acknowledged speculation he may be the Government’s nominee as Ireland’s next EU commissioner.

But he has insisted he will finish his full term in office in Ireland.

Mr Hogan was speaking after addressing the annual Environment Ireland conference on environmental policy and management, which took place at Croke Park yesterday.

The current 27-member commission remains in office until February 2014.

Irelands commissioner, former Fianna Fáil minister Máire Geoghegan-Quinn holds the mid-ranking portfolio of research, innovation and science.

Asked about growing speculation he may be Irelands candidate for the next commission, Mr Hogan suggested such speculation was coming from Brussels.

He said he had received no offers and stressed his commitment to serve the remainder of his term serving the Government “in Ireland”.

He is the second Cabinet member to be mentioned as a contender for the Brussels position.

Minister for Education Ruairí Quinn was tipped as a future commissioner when the Government was formed in March 2011, amid controversy over the make-up of Labour’s five members of Cabinet.

There was speculation Mr Quinn would serve 2½ years as Minister and following a mid-term Cabinet change, would take up a European Commission portfolio.

But in July Mr Quinn himself put paid to any such rumours.

“I have no interest in becoming European commissioner,” the 66-year-old TD said in an Irish Times interview in July Ireland takes over the EU presidency from Cyprus in January.