The government will put forward MEP Mairead McGuinness and Andrew McDowell, who has just finished a stint as EIB vice-president, as its next commissioner. European Commission president Ursula Von der Leyen demanded Ireland put forward a male and female candidate, and will choose the ultimate nominee.
Von der Leyen will likely reshuffle her team, meaning Ireland may well lose the influential trade role after Big Phil Hogan stepped down amid outrage at his attendance at a golf dinner which breached public health guidelines.
61-year-old McGuinness,is a former journalist and a member of the European Parliament since 2004, becoming first vice president of the institution in 2017. McDowell was an economic adviser to Enda Kenny. He then joined the EIB as vice president, finishing his 4-year term this month.
Von der Leyen demanded Ireland put forward male and female nominees. She pointed out that less than 20% of commissioners since 1958 have been women, adding we “want our fair share.” Including Von der Leyen, there are 12 female members of the Commission and 14 men.