Ireland loses EU trade job after Phil Hogan defies coronavirus restrictions

WION Web Team
Dublin, IrelandUpdated: Sep 08, 2020, 02:31 PM IST


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Phil Hogan was asked to resign after he was spotted at an Irish parliamentary golf society dinner defying social distancing and all other coronavirus-related restrictions

Ireland lost the European Union's top post of trade commissioner after Phil Hogan had to resign following a scandal.

Hogan was asked to resign after he was spotted at an Irish parliamentary golf society dinner defying social distancing and all other coronavirus-related restrictions.

He was asked to resign by Ireland's Prime Minister Micheal Martin. Hogan had later issued an apology saying, "I wish to apologise fully and unreservedly for attending."

"I acknowledge my actions have touched a nerve for the people of Ireland, something for which I am profoundly sorry," he added.

The apology was followed by Hogan's resignation, after which European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen had asked executive vice-president Valdis Dombrovskis to take over his duties in the interim. She had also urged the Irish government to propose names of suitable candidates for the post — one woman and one man. "It is now up to the Irish government to present suitable candidates for commissioner of Irish nationality," she had said at that time.

Experts were unsure about Ireland securing the position again. The position has now been handed over to the EU veteran Valdis Dombrovskis, a former Latvian prime minister who is seen as a steady pair of hands for one of the bloc's most sensitive jobs.

Ireland, however, did better than expected in the reshuffle, with the important financial services portfolio going to the country's new commissioner, senior MEP Mairead McGuinness, the EU said.

(With inputs from AFP)