Belfast Telegraph

Finance chief lands top EU role

A top Irish civil servant has secured a senior European finance role despite an oversight committee rejecting his application.

After intense lobbying by Irish officials, Department of Finance chief Kevin Cardiff was voted into the Luxembourg-based spending watchdog in an unprecedented U-turn.

The career civil servant was backed for a 276,000 euro-a-year post on the European Court of Auditors by MEPs even though he was embarrassingly rejected by a special advisory committee just last month.

One of the biggest objections against Mr Cardiff was that he headed the Government's finance division as a 3.6 billion euro accounting blunder overstating national debt was uncovered.

Another division of government, the National Treasury Management Agency, repeatedly warned about the error.

Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams said both Europe and Mr Cardiff would need some luck with the new appointment.

"I don't want to personalise any of this whatsoever," he said.

"But the finance department lost somewhere in there, in terms of its accounting, 3.6 billion euro - it was on his watch, he's now been promoted, a sideways promotion if you like.

"He's going to need a lot of luck and with that kind of accounting the EU is going to need a lot of luck as well."

Mr Cardiff was voted in by MEPs at the European Parliament in Strasbourg by about four to one - 521 votes in favour to 128 against.

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