Phil Hogan says he doesn’t feel threatened at all by rumours that he could be ousted from the European Commission in favour of a woman.
It comes after Ursula von der Leyen – who’s set to become the new commission president – tweeted yesterday to say she wants there to be a 50:50 gender split.
It sparked talk that the Taoiseach might be asked to nominate a woman instead of Kilkenny’s Phil Hogan.
But speaking to KCLR, Commissioner Hogan says the same thing was mentioned last time around:
“I don’t feel under any bit of threat. I’ve just been nominated by the Irish government for the next Commission.
“In the same way as on the last occasion, many people in the media thought that I might have to withdraw my name in order for to achieve gender balance, that didn’t happen.”
On the subject of what portfolio Commissioner Hogan might get in Europe this time around, he likened it “a curate waiting for the next parish.”
He also says it would be a huge honour to be made Vice-President of the Commission, as has been rumoured.
However, he’s come in for heavy criticism over the Mercosur deal recently – including from his own party colleague, Pat Deering who suggested his re-nomination should be reviewed.
But Commissioner Hogan says he doesn’t think he meant it:
“You know, every public representative gets asked questions from time to time. And sometimes, if they had the time back again, they might not answer it in the same way.
“I’ve known Deputy Deering for many years. I’ve helped him in so many different ways to become a TD and he’s doing a good job.
“I certainly wouldn’t have chosen those words that he used, but he did. And I know that he regrets it.”