Stephen McNeice
Stephen McNeice

12.10 30 Aug 2020


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The Government should just put forward one woman candidate for the European Commission role if they're reluctant to nominate two people, a Labour senator has suggested.

Ivana Bacik says both Mairead McGuinness and Frances Fitzgerald have 'immense' levels of political experience for the job.

Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has asked the Irish Government to put forward both a man and a woman as candidates to replace Phil Hogan following his resignation.

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However, a number of reports have indicated only one name may be put forward, amid worries that any second candidate's reputation could be damaged if they're rejected.

Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Coveney has been named as a potential candidate, with the Business Post today reporting the Fine Gael minister is emerging as "the clear front-runner".

Speaking on On The Record, Senator Bacik says there's been 'no explicit statement' by the Government yet on their plans, and it's all only 'signalling' so far.

However, she observed: "Despite all of the speculation and the fact that Simon Coveney's name is being put forward in a number of newspapers as a front-runner... I think it's disappointing that this signalling is coming forward that the Government are not going to put forward a gender-balanced ticket [of] one man, one woman.

"The obvious solution is they should just put forward a woman - you have two brilliantly qualified women. I'm not Fine Gael, but leaving aside all ideas of party politics, you have Mairead McGuinness and Frances Fitzgerald... both of whom have immense levels of political experience.

"Here's my solution for the Government, should they be willing to take my advice: put forward one woman, and that way you avoid this issue of one person being turned down."

She stressed that she believes Simon Coveney would be a very strong candidate as well.

However, she noted: "I think it's disappointing they seem to be disregarding Ursula von der Leyen's clear wish to see more gender balance on the Commission.

"It may not bode too well, given that at the moment Irish currency with Ursula von der Leyen's presidency may not be too high given all the shenanigans around Golfgate."

Main image: File photo of Labour Senator Ivana Bacik. Picture by: Brian Lawless/PA Archive/PA Images

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Commissioner Frances Fitzgerald Ivana Bacik Mairead McGuinness Phil Hogan

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