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Will he stay, will he go increasing calls for Phil Hogan to resign as European trade commissioner as the political fallout continues in the wake of last week's guvs society dinner in Clifton, Adania, become a political editor of the Irish Examiner, is on the line. Danny, good morning.
Good morning. Now, what do you make of this? I mean, Phil Hogan was stopped by the guards for using his mobile phone. He had, it appears, commission documents on his person in the car.
And therefore, is he entitled to diplomatic immunity anyway?
Well, it's not clear, but I mean, this whole scenario is getting more and more curious as the weekend developed, you know, essentially like this emerged because the Garda commissioner informed decisions of ownership that the commissioner was essentially stopped. And, you know, even that practice alone begs a whole series of questions. I was thinking about that this morning.
If I was stopped for whatever reason by a guard, and I find that the Garda commissioner has told my boss or told me Haldeman or someone I might be interviewing, Pat Carney was stopped for using his mobile phone.
And then in the middle of an interview that he says to me as I'm interviewing and by the way, you can't talk, you were stopped for using a mobile phone.
It was all when there is a whole series of questions passed around individual privacy.
I mean, we've been kind of driven mad, demented by GDP or protection rules over the last 18 months to two years or so. We get this seems to be a very curious development. And I presume there will be questions of the Garda commissioner as to the circumstances by which that information was shared. But, you know, if you listen to the radio, yes, it was very clear, certainly earlier records interview on radio. Yes. It seems that Phil Hogan's face was pretty secure, that, yes, there was a lot of there were calls for him to consider a position.
He issued his statement, as it was at that stage, a kind of a very abject apology. And that would seem to be the political atmosphere seem to be enough. However, Dan O'Brien on Newstalk anonymity this morning makes it very clear that the government does not no longer has confidence in Phil Hogan and he must resign.
Are you not cynical about that? Because presumably if Phil goes, the government gets to nominate a new commissioner. It does for George. Put it there.
There are multiple there. Again, there are further questions like Phil Hogan resigns as trade commissioner, Ireland will lose the trade commissioner. You will not parachute a rookie commissioner into that position. So therefore, we lose that very crucial role going into the Brexit, which is a big which is a big decision. And I heard a lot of people make an awful lot of sense in relation to that. You know, people who describe themselves as not defenders or fans of Phil talked of the idea that it is a crucial position for Ireland to hold.
So therefore, Ireland will essentially fall to the bottom of the pecking order in relation to European Commission positions. However, you know, I have been adamant from from the start of this since the start of this government, whole market has not been in control of the narrative of his own government. You've had inter party spat. You've had Leo Varadkar acting in somewhat dubious fashion, in my view, as astonishing, almost gazumping his own talk in terms of tweets that you're sending out, announcing government's announcement before the teacher is even addressed, the media.
And at this constant kind of battle for supremacy that seems to be going on, Miho Martin needs to reassert his control as a teacher. And if he doesn't do that, then then I think this government is going nowhere fast.
Do you think he sent our Brian out this morning to to do that?
Well, I would have thought I would not have gone out and been as forthright in his views without having the nod from government buildings. I mean, he was he was explicit. There was no caveating in his language. There was no equivocation. He was we do not have confidence in him. He should resign. You could not get more explicit like that. It would be unfathomable that a senior cabinet minister would go rogue, essentially, and decide on the policy on the hoof.
What a question. I think that was a decision coming from government buildings. The question we still have an answer and I made enquiries in relation to this is whether or not this was an agreed government position, i.e., is this an agreed position with Leo over acronym? And Ryan, we still haven't got that clarification just yet. But I think the issue in relation to the degree the car to stop executive, that probably did muddy the waters a little bit further.
And it's now a four or five deals controversy and the government has really taken a lot of damage on this whole controversy. It's lost directly as a as a as a minister know, they really want to put this issue to bed. And so therefore, I think that's probably part of the part of the reason for Dio O'Brien's commentary this morning. But without question, it probably is part of the whole Martin's attempt to seize control of the narrative once again.
OK, it's interesting that the comments that are coming in, never mind Big Phil being stopped for using his phone, why are why are they allowed to use theirs when driving?
You can see it every day. That's a problem. Yeah, it's a fair point.
Mr. Hogan must not be forced out. We need to look at the bigger picture. Everyone who attended should be fined and the money allocated to do some good. You can't do that because there was no legal offence. I suspect we'll be talking about the hotel regulations and advices and all the rest of it. And in a while, with only worry, because certainly the Hotels Federation was saying they announced these new rules, but they didn't give us enough chance to put, you know, our point of view or to get guidance together.
And they just did it and that was it.
And so the question about Phil's fate, does it actually stay with Ursula van der Leyen?
Is that is that it? Or she going to look at this and say, I am not having any government anywhere in the EU? Tell me who's in my commission?
Well, you know, the sacking or the resignation of the EU commissioner is extraordinarily rare. It's I think it's only happened once or twice in the history. And the one of the more recent cases with the only case that I can cite was the one of the Maltese commissioner. And it's now still subject to legal action as to whether he was sacked or not. He resigned. So a pretty high bar has to be reached. And as to whether Phil Hogan should resign or not, it is a matter for Ursula van der Leyen.
It's her commission. She is the commission president. Once the government nominates their commission, decentralise their oversight role or their role in that person's position stops. So ultimately, they no longer have a say essentially in their kind of terms and conditions of employment. However, if you have a position where a national government has expressed no confidence in that country's own commissioner, it puts a sort of underline in an invidious position because essentially you're forcing or attempting to force her hand.
And ultimately it ends up in the position of Phil Hogan resigning. And therefore, as I said earlier, you know, taking the commission position away from Ireland and putting it down the bottom of the pecking order, or you open a kind of a front with European Commission at a time when we need all the friends we can get when it comes to Brexit. And that's not not a position Ireland really wants to be going down into. So this is not straightforward.
This is a complex issue. And escalating this into a kind of an Ireland versus or some underlying issue is fraught with danger. But I would have to also underline we'll see the combinations on the same things coming from government, and I'm sure that will weigh on their head. But ultimately, it is her decision. And both, you know, one would have thought that would she want to be getting into a controversy, an ongoing, prolonged controversy, one of her own member states, again, at a critical time, probably not.
So all eyes are on her on what she decides to do. Logan and his office have said that they have given her all the details that they have to give. But I suppose, given that the commentary from Tara O'Brien, clearly on behalf of government this morning, just getting text here from certain senior ministers as well while I'm speaking to and it's clear that the further revelations were seen as damaging. And, you know, as one put it to me, you know, how can you defend leaving Claire to go play golf?
And how can you say she defend breaching the rules for a golf game? And it's not really tenable. So one would suspect if that's the commentary on getting there, it would lead me to suspect that that little fracas and Eamon Ryan and Martin decided Phil Phil Open-Faced overnight or early this morning. All right.
We shall see how that all unfolds. And there are more serious things in life, Danny. And one of them includes looking after your child.
So I'm doing my old troublesome backbenchers here.
But as you can probably appreciate, I can hear that. Danny, thank you very much for joining us. Danny McConnell, political editor with the Irish Examiner. Thank you very much.
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