Wednesday 9 November 2011

Cardiff's Controversal Court of Auditors nomination

Last week the Irish Department of Finance discovered that it had counted the money borrowed by the Housing Finance Agency, leading it to overstate the Irish Government's debt by €3.6 billion. The Secretary General, Kevin Cardiff was called before a parliamentary committee to account for the mistake, but the controversy has rumbled on since Cardiff has been named as the government's nominee to the EU's Court of Auditors, which oversees the EU's budget.

Cardiff's departure is being explained in a few ways:

"The Fine Gael-Labour coalition made little secret of its desire to move those associated with the 2008 bank guarantee into different roles. [Note: He was in office at the time]. Mr Cariff’s appointment not only frees up the most senior post in the department, but also replaces a Fianna Fáil nominee at the court of auditors.


In Government circles, it had been widely anticipated the post would go to a political nominee from either Fine Gael or Labour. The speculation in Dublin was that the party, which did not receive a Luxembourg post, would have a claim on Ireland’s seat in the European Commission when next it falls vacant.

Sources familiar with the deliberations in Dublin said it was far too early in the life of the Government to consider appointing any Minister to the post. Given that the nomination is subject to the approval of MEPs, the Government was keen to nominate a figure with a financial background."

Cardiff has countered the criticism leveled at him by opposition TDs that he is unfit to take the CoA job considering the accounting mistake made under his watch:

"In his response to her direct criticism, Mr Cardiff said that as accounting officer he accepted responsibility and would act on the error to ensure it would not happen again. “If an accounting officer were to resign every time there was an error you would have no accounting officer. If they were to resign after every major error you would only have lucky accounting officers left,” he said."

However, it's not just the opposition that's exercised by the nomination, MEPs from the junior coalition party have spoken out against his appointment, as has UKIP MEP Marta Andreasen:

"Former chief accountant of the European Commission Marta Andreasen spoke out against the Irish Government and Mr Noonan yesterday for their support for Mr Cardiff. The UK Independence Party MEP said the Government was behaving irresponsibly by backing someone whom she believes is unfit for the European job."

It will be interesting to see how closely the Budget Control Committee will examine his record tomorrow.


  1. If he passes the interview and takes up the job, I wonder what his new colleagues will think of his description of the job, which is also their job, as "a doddle".

    Quote "As for the European Court of Auditors, I think it will be a doddle compared to this job."

  2. I can't imagine him being very popular during the lunch breaks!

  3. He was a fianna fail appointee who Cowan kept sweet as he knows where all the bodies are buried.