Childers condemns Hogan’s EU nomination

Independent MEP Nessa Childers has said the nomination of Phil Hogan as Ireland’s Commissioner-designate is a step backwards for equality and told the European Parliament’s second largest grouping of MEPs that she has serious reservations considering his appointment to the Commission.

Childers condemns Hogan’s EU nomination

In a letter to the 192 members of the European Parliament’s Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats&, Ms Childers said that the then-local government minister’s intervention in the case of a Traveller family who were seeking local authority housing from Kilkenny County Council in 2012 was “tantamount to discriminatory behaviour that flies in the face of EU fundamental rights principles and legislation.”

“As a representative of all Irish citizens, including ethnic minorities such as the Traveller community, I must bring to your attention facts which were confirmed and defended by Mr Hogan himself. These, I believe, are incompatible with the proper discharge of the duties incumbent upon a European Commissioner,” Ms Childers wrote in the letter, dated September 1.

“The Traveller community are disadvantaged, discriminated against and face strong prejudice. Tragically, the family home provided in this specific instance I am bringing to your attention was subsequently burned down with most of their belongings.

“In an environment where intolerance can reach such extremes against the Traveller community, Mr Hogan’s misjudgment in his capacity as a minister, which was roundly condemned across the Opposition benches, proves all the more flagrant.

“It is my belief that appointing someone with Mr Phil Hogan’s profile would thus send a very ominous signal to those who suffer and fight discrimination in Europe, on ethnic and on other grounds.

“I have no doubt that those would see this as a step backwards for equality. We must show zero tolerance against racism, especially at a time when the far right is once more raising its ugly head across the continent,” Ms Childers wrote.

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