Ireland will not hold the trade portfolio at the EU Commission, according to Fianna Fáil MEP Barry Andrews, who said that would be a strategic loss for the country.

Speaking on RTE's Your Politics podcast, Mr Andrews said there was annoyance in Europe with Ireland's delay in confirming its nominations as it was holding up the appointment of a new Trade Commissioner in a reshuffle of positions.

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On the request of Ursula von der Leyen, the European Commission President, to put forward a man and a woman for the position, Mr Andrews said that while the Government had no legal obligation to comply, it was in our interests to do so in order to have a chance of being allocated a significant portfolio.

The Dublin MEP said he believed it was likely that a woman would be appointed as it was one way the EU Commission President would have of getting something positive out of the controversy and it would achieve the gender balance that she sought.

Mr Andrews said he felt the delay on the Irish side was the Government trying to get an indication of what might be available which would determine the candidates.

He said there was an internal Fine Gael element to the nomination as it was appropriately an EPP role, but he said it was ultimately a decision for the Irish Government.

Presenter Sandra Hurley is joined by RTÉ's Paul Cunningham, Mícheal Lehane and David Murphy.