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Simon Coveney probably an alternative to the position of Phil Hogan’s trade commissioner

Who will be next in the role, with Phil Hogan resigning as EU Commissioner? Dublin has made it known to Brussels that the nominee must be interested in maintaining a commercial portfolio and have sufficient ability and credibility to implement it.

Now the general assessment is that Simon Coveney, the foreign minister, would be suitable for this post.

It was considered that it might be Tanaiste Leo Varadkar and Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe, but it is obvious they are not both. Leo Varadkar is due to retake Taoiseach’s position in 2022 and Paschal Donohoe just won the Euro group’s presidency.

A minister said that, “It would have to be a prime minister or deputy prime minister or very senior minister who is well-known and regarded in Brussels. It won’t be Leo as he wants to be Taoiseach again so the only person who really has that sort of clout is Coveney.”

Mr. Hogan’s resignation was tendered this evening to Commission President Ursula von der Leyden. He also explained her about the controversy that lead him to take such a decision.

If Hogan resigns or sacked by Ursula von der Leyen, it had been made clear that Fine Gael will have the power to nominate the EU Commissioner.   

If the Coalition is still in office, Fianna Fáil will have the right to appoint the Ireland’s next Commissioner proper in 2024, said senior government sources. 

“Coveney was the man on Brexit for more than two years,” one of his ministerial colleagues said.

“Now, he’s no longer Tánaiste so when it comes to Brexit he’s now the third most important Irish figure,” he added.

Mr Coveney had a lot of respect in Ireland and Brussels because he had a strong way of handling Brexit.

Minister of State for European Affairs Thomas Byrne said that if the right person was put forward, Ireland can retain the trade portfolio. And it is believe that Mr Coveney is interested as commissioner if it is in the trade portfolio.

Mr. Byre said it was important not to endanger public support for the European Union by seeing a commissioner flouting the rules.

“It was clear that the Commissioner had breached public health guidelines, but it was a decision for Ms. von der Leyen to make. He said he had no doubt that public confidence would be “massively undermined” if it was perceived that politicians could flout the rules,” he added.

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