Brexit implosion: Ireland humiliated and EU weakened by trade blow – Barnier stunned

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Ray Bassett was speaking after Mairead McGuinness was today confirmed as Mr Hogan’s replacement as Ireland’s Commissioner – but Ireland has lost the Trade portfolio which Mr Hogan held until he was forced to resign last month. Former Latvian Prime Minister Valdis Dombrovskis has now been confirmed in the post, with Mrs McGuinness taking over his old job as the bloc’s finance chief.

This Government is one of the worst I have witnessed in Dublin

Ray Bassett

And Mr Bassett, Ireland’s former ambassador to Canada, Jamaica and the Bahamas, said the Irish Government, led by Taoiseach Micheal Martin and his predecessor Leo Varadkar, only had themselves to blame for loss.

Mr Bassett told Express: “This Government is one of the worst I have witnessed in Dublin.

“They don’t seem to think their actions out fully.

“There will be implications for Brexit.

“Already Barnier has said that he will miss having Hogan’s advice.

“Privately I imagine Barnier’s wants more flexibility and would have relied on Hogan pushing that line inside the Commission.”

Considering the stand-off between the UK and the EU, with Boris Johnson yesterday setting a deadline of October 15, Mr Bassett said: “We are now in a game of chicken, each side waiting for the other to blink.

“The demotion of Irish influence in Brussels is not a good thing for those wanting to get the EU to move off its undeliverable demands.

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“McGuinness, who has never held any Ministerial post, will simply not carry Hogan’s clout.”

Mr Hogan was forced to quit after details of his attendance of a social function at a golf club in the west of Ireland emerged this month.

The event, which featured roughly 80 guests, represented a breach of coronavirus restrictions banning indoor gatherings of more than 80 people.

His position became untenable after both Mr Martin and Mr Varadkar called for him to resign.

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Mr Bassett said: “Hogan was well liked and influential with the Brussels bureaucracy

“Latvia does not have the same stake in a UK/EU deal as Ireland and hence the new Commissioner is unlikely to be as involved as Hogan.

Latvia is also hugely influenced by its neighbour Germany and less inclined towards the full free trade.

“The new appointment further strengthens German influence.

“The Irish Government threw Hogan under the bus and now look decidedly foolish.

“There is incredulity in Brussels at the actions of the Irish Government.”

After her appointment, Mr Martin tweeted: “Congratulations to @MaireadMcGMEP on her appointment as European Commissioner in an important financial portfolio.

“It’s a great day for her and her family. I’ve no doubt whatsoever that she will serve with distinction and will play a key role in the work of the Commission.”

Mr Varadkar posted: Congratulations to @MaireadMcGMEP.

“An excellent appointment for Ireland in an excellent portfolio.

“And thanks to Andrew McDowell for putting his name forward, another great candidate.

“Ireland is fortunate to have people of this calibre representing us at European level.”

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