Apology over anti-Cardiff emails accepted by court

THE President of the European Court of Auditors has accepted an apology from Ireland’s member over emails lobbying against Kevin Cardiff.

The secretary general of the Department of Finance, has been put forward by the Government to replace Eoin O’Shea but was rejected by a committee of the European Parliament last week. It will be up to a full meeting of the parliament in two weeks to decide whether to overrule the committee’s rejection, and recommend Mr Cardiff.

A statement from the Luxembourg-based court about the controversial emails sent by Mr O’Shea said: “The president, Vitor Caldeira, took note of Mr O’Shea’s explanation and most importantly of his apology. He regrets Mr O’Shea’s actions on the proposed nomination of Mr Cardiff. All members of the court must conduct themselves as seen in the Treaty and the members’ code of conduct.”

The budgetary control committee which vets nominees for the court meets today but Mr Cardiff’s case is not on the agenda, although members may raise it. Ines Ayala Sender, the Spanish Socialist MEP who has the job of reporting the committee’s decision to the parliament on December 13, said it will be up to the full session in Strasbourg to accept or reject it.

However, it will be discussed by the presidents of the three main political groups on Thursday week when they are preparing for the plenary. She said she would recommend her Socialist group vote against the committee’s decision to reject Mr Cardiff.

“The MEPs may take into account the committee’s opinion but all that has developed and become known after the vote about the lobbying by the present member of the court may also influence them,” she said.

The European People’s Party (EPP), of which Fine Gael is a member, can be expected to recommend to their members to refuse to accept the committee’s rejection of Mr Cardiff also.

However the EPP coordinator in the committee, Ingeborg Grassle, may insist that Mr Cardiff appear again before them or at least fill out a questionnaire and that they receive an undertaking from the court that whatever role he is allocated would avoid a conflict of interest with the Department of Finance.

Mr O’Shea, a barrister and accountant was appointed by the previous government two years ago when Máire Geoghegan Quinn became Ireland’s Commissioner in Brussels. The six-year term ends in February.

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