The Minister for Finance has ruled himself out as a candidate for the top job at the European Stability Mechanism (ESM).

Paschal Donohoe was not categorical when asked about the role yesterday, prompting speculation politically that he could depart the Government for a European Union post.

However, his spokesperson said this afternoon that "Minister Donohoe is not a candidate for the Managing Director of the ESM."

The spokesperson said that as President of the Eurogroup he is also chairman of the Board of Governors of the ESM and has been managing a process to appoint a successor to the MD who is retiring.

Four member states put forward candidates in May and voting was held on a number of occasions but no candidate has received the necessary support.

Mr Donohoe, as President of the Eurogroup, is continuing to manage the process, working with his ministerial colleagues to find a suitable candidate for the MD position, the spokesperson said.