"Phil Hogan is not above the rest of us. Suspend him" - Tóibín
Aontú leader Peadar Tóibín TD has called on the Tánaiste, Leo Varadkar, to suspend EU Commissioner Phil Hogan from Fine Gael.
Deputy Tóibín said:
“Commissioner Hogan may think he’s above the rest of us, and that he’s not accountable to the people, but he is accountable to the grassroots members of Fine Gael and to the party leader. The leader of Fine Gael has often implied that there’s nothing he can do when members of his party misbehave in Europe. We’ve seen this narrative most notably when former Minister Dara Murphy last year attempted to hold down two jobs, taking income from the Oireactas and Europe, while Leo Varadkar maintained there was nothing really he could do about the fact that Deputy Murphy was refusing to engage fully with the investigation. To this day we have not had a progress update from Deputy Varadkar on that internal investigation”.
Deputy Tóibín continued: “Leo Varadkar must impose disciplinary action on Commissioner Hogan as a matter of urgency, otherwise neither he nor Simon Harris can have any credibility in their well written tweets encouraging the Irish people to obey the restrictions. Commissioner Hogan seems to think he is above the rest of us, that he isn’t answerable to us. Refusing to apologise for the length he did and only speaking to the media through a spokesperson highlights his arrogance. The commissioner seems to think he is some sort of incorruptible celebrity who need not answer any of the questions the Irish people have for him. I would caution that if the commissioner were ever to return to democracy or electoral politics the people would give him a very clear answer”.
“Some are running a narrative that we should maintain the commissioner for the sake of Brexit. But I ask what has the commissioner ever done for the people of this Ireland? It is really phenomenal to think that at the time of the Mercosur Trade Agreement, which will yet prove to be the final nail on the coffin of the Irish beef industry, the person holding the position of European Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development was not only an Irishman but a member of the political party in government at home here at the time. If the Tánaiste wishes to maintain any credibility in promoting adherence to the covid-19 restrictions he must take immediate disciplinary action against the commissioner for breaking the rules. The Department of Agriculture has become a laughing stock in recent months. Couple this with the fact that Fine Gael MEPs, who have, it must be said, very considerable power and clout in the European Union, have done little for struggling farmers in Ireland, and it becomes obvious the complete disdain with which the government view the Irish beef farmer”, concluded Deputy Tóibín.