27/11/2009

Irish EU Commissioner Secures Innovation Portfolio

Ireland has been given the Research and Innovation portfolio in the newly formed European Commission.

Recent Irish nominee for the commission, Máire Geoghegan Quinn, will be allocated the portfolio by Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso.

The Taoiseach made the announcement at the Intel facility in Leixlip, where he was attending an event to celebrate 20 years of Intel in Ireland.

The Taoiseach said: "In putting forward Máire Geoghegan Quinn as Ireland's nominee for the new Commission, I felt that a candidate of very strong credentials and experience would help us to get a substantial portfolio in the new Commission.

"I am delighted to announce today that we have secured the hugely important Research and Innovation portfolio, which resonates very strongly with our own Smart Economy agenda.

"It is testament to the calibre of Máire Geoghegan Quinn that she has been allocated this portfolio."

The portfolio includes the European Union's important Research Framework Programme, which has a budget of in excess of €50bn over the period leading up to 2013.

Ms Geoghegan-Quinn was announced as the government's nominee for appointment to the next European Commission only last week.

The appointment however led to some speculation over whether Ms Geoghegan-Quinn's selection was related to her gender, while also raising questions over her past roles.

A letter from European Commission president José Manuel Barroso sent out before the appointments were made alluded to nominations of woman who are currently underrepresented in the commission would lead to portfolios with more clout being awarded.

Meanwhile, Fine Gael's spokeswoman on European Affairs Lucinda Creighton questioned her relationship with anti-Lisbon campaigner Declan Ganley, saying their working relationship would have to be clarified.

The EU research agenda spans a wide range of areas, including Information and Communication Technology and Science, but also extends to other crucial policy areas such as climate change, energy efficiency, health and food security.

(DW/KMcA)


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