Tensions over Dara Murphy nomination for EPP post

Expectations were that Hogan or McGuinness would be on ticket for vice-presidency

Minister of State at the departments of the Taoiseach and Foreign Affairs with special responsibility for European Affairs and Data Protection,  Dara Murphy, nominated for vice-presidency of European People’s Party

Minister of State at the departments of the Taoiseach and Foreign Affairs with special responsibility for European Affairs and Data Protection, Dara Murphy, nominated for vice-presidency of European People’s Party

 

Tensions have surfaced within Fine Gael over the decision of Taoiseach Enda Kenny to nominate Minister for European Affairs Dara Murphy as vice-president of the European People’s Party (EPP).

Mr Kenny’s decision comes despite expectations that EU Commissioner Phil Hogan or European Parliament vice-president, Fine Gael MEP Maireád McGuinness would be put on the ticket.

Mr Hogan, who is not attending this week’s conference due to illness, had been expected to be nominated by Fine Gael given his position as Ireland’s most senior EU official in Brussels.

Three of Mr Hogan’s EU Commission colleagues from other EPP member parties have been put forward by their national parties, sources in Brussels told The Irish Times.

Speaking in Madrid on Wednesday, Mr Murphy, who was put forward by the Taoiseach and Fine Gael HQ last week, denied any internal divisions about his nomination.

“I have received excellent support from the four MEPs and Commissioner Phil Hogan who have been campaigning very hard, and are extremely supportive,” he declared.

Murphy, who regularly represents the Government at EU Council meetings, could be at a disadvantage in today’s vote since he is not a Brussels-based politician, officials said.

However, he could benefit from Ireland’s pro-EU reputation and links to the UK, which has had no place in the EPP since the Conservatives quit six years ago.