Dara Murphy leaves EU job after just seven months

Former Cork Fine Gael North Central TD had resigned Dáil position for post under shadow of expenses scandal

Former Cork Fine Gael North Central TD, Dara Murphy's job at the European Commission has come to an end just seven months after he took up the post.

Mr Murphy moved into the position in the cabinet of the Bulgarian European Commissioner Mariya Gabriel in December after resigning from his position in the Dáil under the shadow of an expenses scandal.

The Fine Gael politician had been representing Cork North-Central while being based primarily in Brussels, where he worked in a senior position in the European People's Party while having the lowest voting turnout record in the Dáil.

Mr Murphy abruptly stopped working in the Commissioner’s cabinet in mid-June after just seven months in the post, and he has moved into another position within the Commission where he will work on research and innovation until his notice period ends in September.

"By mutual agreement Dara Murphy has left my Cabinet. I am very grateful for his contribution from the beginning of the mandate," Ms Gabriel told The Irish Times. "I wish Dara all the best for the future."

Mr Murphy told The Irish Times he had left his post due to a “new opportunity” but would not say what this was.

Ms Gabriel had previously taken criticism because of the scandal over Mr Murphy's poor attendance and expense claims in the Dáil broke that just as he took up his new position in her cabinet, leading to negative coverage in the press in her native Bulgaria.

A former European Affairs minister, Mr Murphy became a well-regarded figure in Brussels in the wake of Brexit as EU counterparts found him personable and valued his ability to explain Ireland’s unique dilemmas.

After being dropped from his ministerial post by then-taoiseach Leo Varadkar, this clout helped him get an appointment as campaign director for the European People's Party (EPP) in Brussels, the right-leaning political grouping that includes Fine Gael and is the largest bloc in the European Parliament.

Sources in the EPP say that Mr Murphy did not distinguish himself during his time as campaign director, which he performed simultaneously to his role as a TD.

Ms Gabriel, a former EPP vice-president, appointed Mr Murphy to her cabinet just as the expenses scandal broke in Dublin.