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McGuinness in Commissioner contention, Markey in line for MEP role

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MEP Mairead McGuinness and Cllr Col Markey. Photo Credit: Flickr Creative Commons License.

Mairead McGuinness has been formally fowarded as one of two names for the role of Ireland’s EU Commissioner, with Fine Gael councillor Colm Markey in line to be co-opted to the European Parliament should she succeed in succeeding Phil Hogan.

McGuinness, a European Parliament First Vice-President, and former European Investment Bank vice-president Andrew McDowell are the two names being put forward as nominees to be Ireland’s next European Commissioner.

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One of the two will will take over from Mr Hogan following his resignation after controversy over his movements while in Ireland and his attendance at an Oireachtas Golf Society event in Clifden, Galway last month.

Last weekend, Ardee woman McGuiness confirmed her interest in the role. Should she be slected as Ireland’s next EU Commissioner, she will be replaced in the European Parliament via a co-option. There are full potential candidates for the role.

These are Togher-based councillor Markey, former TD and Senator Frank Feighan, former Senator Gab McFadden and Meath County Councillor Sharon Tolan. Markey is the leading candidate among these to replace McGuinness, should she move to the commission. He is number one in line and sources close to Markey have indicated to LouthNow.ie that he is willing to take on the role.

However, all three of the other contenders remain viable and if Markey were to decline, they could be handed a reprieve. That seems unlikely. Upon news of McGuinness’ nomination being announced, Markey tweeted his congratulations. It was his first tweet in 16 months, since the day of his re-election in May of last year.

McGuinness was seen as a viable candidate given her knowledge of and experience in Brussels, as well as her own personal background in agriculture, which is seen as a likely brief should President Ursula von der Leyen decide on a reshuffle. She has been an MEP for six years and a Vice-President of the EPP for almost four years.

McGuinness is currently a Fine Gael MEP representing the Midlands North West and First Vice-President of the European Parliament.

She is a perennial favourite of the bookmakers when it comes to betting markets for the next President of Ireland, for which she is currently the favourite, priced at 9/2.

Last week, UE Commission President von der Leyen invited the Irish Government to nominate both a man and a woman for the role of the Irish representative in the Commission. She said that she would decide the final allocation of portfolios “at a later stage.”

Amongst the other names mentioned in dispatches for the position were Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Simon Coveney and former commission official David O’Sullivan, Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe and former Taoiseach Enda Kenny, as well as ex-Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald.

Boylesports are pricing Mairead McGuinness at 2/4 odd-on favourite to become Ireland’s next EU Commissioner, with Andrew McDowell an outside bet 1t 7/4, down from 20/1.

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