The Taoiseach has denied that the Government's nomination of Kevin Cardiff to the European Court of Auditors has been derailed.

Enda Kenny said it remained his view that Mr Cardiff was the best candidate for the job and he said this had also been recognised in other quarters.

He said the nomination process was continuing and he expected the European Parliament would ultimately cast its vote on Mr Cardiff's competency.

Mr Kenny said the general consensus was that Mr Cardiff had performed very well at the Budgetary Control Committee hearing and the vote on his nomination had not reflected this.

Earlier, a European Parliament spokesman has said it is "extremely unlikely" that Mr Cardiff's nomination would be sent back to the Budgetary Control Committee for a second hearing.

The spokesman told RTÉ News that the only option for the Plenary of the European Parliament was to either accept or reject the vote of the Budgetary Control Committee.

The committee rejected Mr Cardiff's nomination by 12 votes to 11 on Wednesday.

"That was the vote. It is up to the plenary to decide if it accepts it or rejects it," the spokesman said.

"Members of the committee sought a postponement of the vote before it happened. That was rejected, so the vote went ahead."

He added that there was "no possibility" of the committee being reconvened for a second hearing before the plenary makes its decision on 13 December in Strasbourg.

Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore said the Government is standing by the nomination of Mr Cardiff to court.

Minister Gilmore said the first phase of the procedure in the European Parliament has been completed and the outcome of the vote was unexpected.

He said the nomination has some way to go yet in the European Parliament.

Mr Gilmore said previous nominations to the court have been controversial because nominees were connected with political parties.

In this case, he said, the Government decided to appoint a senior independent civil servant and they are standing by that.

Ministers Richard Bruton and Joan Burton also said the Government was standing by Mr Cardiff's nomination.

Speaking on Morning Ireland, Mr Bruton reiterated the Government's support, despite what he described as "serious efforts" to undermine Mr Cardiff.

Minister for Social Protection Joan Burton said that while there appeared to have been some negative campaigning against Mr Cardiff, he was now involved in a process of scrutiny and his nomination would continue.

She said she wished that some of the appointments made in this country would be subjected to that same scrutiny.