Eamon Gilmore looks likely to stay put in Ireland, despite strong public support from his successor, Joan Burton, for his candidacy for the role of Ireland’s next European commissioner.
Ahead of her talks with the Taoiseach, Enda Kenny, on Monday morning, the new Labour leader said she wanted to underline that Mr Gilmore had “very serious qualifications for the job”.
Well placed sources in Brussels in recent days expect Fine Gael’s Phil Hogan to be nominated for the job, and the prize position of Agriculture Commissioner.
And fuelling speculation that his move to Brussels is done and dusted, Mr Hogan issued a statement outlining his achievements as minister over the past three years, including the property tax and setting up Irish Water.
“There has been much speculation in relation to Minister Hogan’s future place of employment which still remains to be finalised,” his spokesperson said. “But the general feeling is that he will not return to this department either way.”
“On his behalf, I would be grateful if you would peruse the attached document and highlight through your various mediums the sheer amount of issues which the minister has presided over. Some not so popular but they had to be done.”
As he stepped down as Tánaiste Mr Gilmore said it was not the day to comment on his future. “This is not something I am thinking about today. This is Joan’s day. It is my intention to stay active in public life.”
Asked if he was sad that his leadership had come to an end, he said: “I’m not really. I’m very proud of the work we have done for the last three years to bring about economic recovery.”
Ms Burton said the calibre of commissioner to be nominated by Ireland is “of great importance” and “Eamon Gilmore is eminently well qualified to fulfil that role”.
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