Parties expected to put McGrath forward for European commissioner

There is intense speculation in Government circles about a replacement for the Minister for Finance, should he be the commission nominee

Minister for Finance, Michael McGrath: it is expected his name will be the one forwarded to Brussels. Photograph: Alan Betson

The leaders of the three Government parties are expected to discuss the name of Ireland’s next European commissioner on Monday, before the nomination is approved by the Cabinet at its meeting on Tuesday.

The universal expectation in Government is that the name of Minister for Finance Michael McGrath will be the one forwarded to Brussels in advance of a summit of European leaders in Brussels later this week.

If Mr McGrath leaves his post immediately, the move would create a vacancy in the Department of Finance just weeks before the Government finalises the Summer Economic Statement in early July, a key budgetary document which will set the fiscal parameters for the autumn budget.

There is intense speculation in Government circles about a replacement for Mr McGrath, should he be the commission nominee, with the names of junior ministers Jack Chambers and Dara Calleary figuring prominently. Mr Chambers was last week named as the new deputy leader of Fianna Fáil, and Tánaiste Micheál Martin heaped praise on him for his management of the party’s local election campaign, which saw the party remain as the largest party of local government.


There is understood to be a concern that the Government should quickly nominate a new European commissioner in order to give the candidate the best chance of securing a substantial and influential portfolio in the new European Commission.

EU leaders are set to resume discussions this week on who should lead European institutions for the next five years, with Ursula von der Leyen in the driving seat for reappointment as president of the European Commission.

Mr Martin travels to Luxembourg on Monday for a meeting of EU foreign ministers, where discussions will be dominated by the ongoing war in Ukraine and the situation in Gaza. The heads of EU governments will meet on Thursday and Friday in Brussels.

Pat Leahy

Pat Leahy

Pat Leahy is Political Editor of The Irish Times