Dara Murphy, one of the Government’s busiest ministers, said that convincing Britain to remain in the EU will be one of his main jobs in the coming months.
The Cork North Central TD, Minister of State for European Affairs and Data Protection, was elected one of 10 vice presidents of the European People’s Party anther annual conference in Madrid.
The centre-right EPP, to which Fine Gael belongs, is the largest political group in Europe with members in 40 parliaments including 16 prime ministers.
Mr Murphy said the Government was unapologetic in believing that it is in the interest of Ireland, the EU and Britain that Britain remains in the union.
“It’s important to remember that we have far more in common with Britain than we disagree over and Ireland as a pro-EU country is a potential bridge in the coming debate.
“We have a huge diaspora in Britain and lots of our people are on boards of companies and are successful and influential, which gives us a role, as does the fact that the Tories are no longer in the EPP while I am the only vice president of the group that is a member of a government”.
He was congratulated by MEP Mairead McGuinness, a vice president of the European Parliament, who said, “We are not the biggest country and do not have a big delegation but we worked as a team and got the support of several small and big countries — it’s a remarkable achievement and we are delighted.”
Ireland has had remarkable success in the group’s hierarchy, winning one of the hotly contested vice-president posts four times, with Taoiseach Enda Kenny holding it for two terms before Lucinda Creighton, then Europe Minister topped the poll in 2012 before resigning last year having left Fine Gael.
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