Eamon Gilmore nominated as EU special representative for human rights

Ex-tánaiste’s appointment comes after Lane nominated for chief economist role with ECB

Eamon Gilmore’s appointment is expected to be formally approved by the Council of Ministers in the next few days. Photograph: Frank Miller

Eamon Gilmore’s appointment is expected to be formally approved by the Council of Ministers in the next few days. Photograph: Frank Miller

 

Former tánaiste Eamon Gilmore has been nominated as EU special representative for human rights. His appointment following his nomination by high representative for foreign policy, Federica Mogherini, is expected to be formally approved by the Council of Ministers in the next few days.

The appointment to the Brussels-based position is the second senior EU job to go to an Irish candidate in as many weeks following the nomination of Central Bank governor Philip Lane as chief economist of the European Central Bank.

Mr Gilmore, a former leader of the Labour Party and former minister for foreign affairs who represented Dún Laoghaire from 1989 to 2016, will take up the post, created first in 2012, in Ms Mogherini’s European External Action Service, the union’s diplomatic wing. He was nominated initially by Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney.

Current incumbent, Stavros Lambrinidis, a Greek lawyer and politician who was also his country’s foreign minister, is due to take up a position within months as EU ambassador to the United States, succeeding Ireland’s David O’Sullivan.

Colombian peace process

Mr Gilmore has worked for the last three years as the EU special representative to the Colombian peace process, travelling regularly to Bogota where, Irish officials say, he has brought particular insights from the Northern Ireland peace process. His record and standing as a former foreign minister are understood to have stood him in good stead for the nomination.

The representative has a mandate to promote the strengthening of democracy, international justice, humanitarian law and the abolition of the death penalty.

Originally from a small farm in the west of Ireland, Mr Gilmore is a former student leader who went to work for the then Irish Transport and General Workers’ Union (now Siptu) before entering politics as a member of Sinn Féin. He led Labour from 2007, and in 2011 into its most successful general election campaign. He has served as adjunct professor in the school of law and government at Dublin City University.