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Paschal Donohoe

Paschal Donohoe
Donohoe in 2023
Minister for Public Expenditure, National Development Plan Delivery and Reform
Assumed office
17 December 2022
Preceded byMichael McGrath
In office
6 May 2016 – 27 June 2020
Preceded byBrendan Howlin
Succeeded byMichael McGrath
President of the Eurogroup
Assumed office
13 July 2020
Preceded byMário Centeno
Minister for Finance
In office
14 June 2017 – 17 December 2022
Preceded byMichael Noonan
Succeeded byMichael McGrath
Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport
In office
11 July 2014 – 6 May 2016
TaoiseachEnda Kenny
Preceded byLeo Varadkar
Succeeded byShane Ross
Minister of State
2013–2014European Affairs
Teachta Dála
Assumed office
February 2011
ConstituencyDublin Central
In office
24 July 2007 – 25 February 2011
ConstituencyAdministrative Panel
Personal details
Born (1974-09-19) 19 September 1974 (age 49)
Phibsborough, Dublin, Ireland
Political partyFine Gael
Justine Davey
(m. 2001)
Alma materTrinity College Dublin

Paschal Donohoe (born 19 September 1974) is an Irish Fine Gael politician who has served as Minister for Public Expenditure, National Development Plan Delivery and Reform since December 2022 and President of the Eurogroup since July 2020.[1] He has been a Teachta Dála (TD) for the Dublin Central constituency since 2011. He served as Minister for Finance of Ireland from 2017 to 2022, Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform from 2016 to 2020, Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport from 2014 to 2016 and Minister of State for European Affairs from 2013 to 2014.[2]

Early life

Donohoe was born in Phibsborough, Dublin, in 1974 and grew up in Blanchardstown. He is the son of a Stena Line employee who also worked renting marquees and tents.[3] He was educated at St. Declan's CBS in Cabra, before receiving a scholarship to Trinity College Dublin. He studied Politics and Economics as part of the Business, Economics and Social Science (BESS) degree programme and graduated with a first-class honours degree in 1996.[3][4] While at Trinity, he served as Secretary of the University Philosophical Society, a debating and paper-reading society.

From Trinity College, Donohoe was selected by the UK division of multinational company Procter & Gamble for their fast-track graduate training programme. He spent six years working in the United Kingdom, becoming a sales and marketing director. In 2003, he returned to Ireland to pursue a career in politics.

Political career

Donohoe was first elected to Dublin City Council in 2004, for the Cabra-Glasnevin local electoral area. During this time he was Chairperson of the Central Area Committee, Chairperson of the Environmental Strategic Policy Committee and a member of the City Corporate Policy Committee.

He was an unsuccessful candidate at the 2007 general election in the Dublin Central constituency, but was elected to Seanad Éireann as a Senator for the Administrative Panel in July 2007.[5] He was appointed in October 2007, as Fine Gael Seanad Spokesperson on Transport and the Marine. He was a member of the Joint Oireachtas committee on Transport and the Joint Oireachtas committee on European Affairs.

He was appointed Chairman of the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Ireland's Future in Europe, by Enda Kenny, in October 2008. On 24 March 2009, he was nominated by Fine Gael to run in the Dublin Central by-election, caused by the death of Tony Gregory,[6] but he was unsuccessful in this election. He topped the poll at the 2011 general election and was elected on the 2nd count.[5]

In government

Minister of State for European Affairs (2013–2014)

Following the resignation of Lucinda Creighton, who had broken the government whip in a vote on the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Bill, Donohoe was appointed as Minister of State for European Affairs on 12 July 2013.[7]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (2014–2016)

On 11 July 2014, Donohoe was promoted to the cabinet, as Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, a position he held until 6 May 2016.[8]

During his tenure he oversaw the sale of the Government's remaining 25% stake in Aer Lingus, to the International Airlines Group, however, he was also confronted with a series of strikes by Dublin Bus, Luas and Irish Rail workers.[9]

Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform (2016–2020)

Donohoe was appointed Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform following the formation of a Fine Gael minority government in May 2016.[10]

In the weeks leading up to his first budget in October 2016, Donohoe took over most of the workload from Minister for Finance Michael Noonan, who had been hospitalised for a period.[11] Hopes of a budget splurge were quashed after Donohoe signalled Brexit and other world events would have "seismic consequences" on Ireland.[12] On budget day he announced €58 billion in various day-to-day and capital expenditure which was an increase in €4 billion from the previous budget.

During his tenure as Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, Donohoe dealt with a number of complex issues, including a threatened strike by the Garda Síochána. This resulted in a recommendation by the Labour Court and the decision not to proceed with industrial action by members of AGSI and the GRA.[13]

Donohoe also negotiated a new national pay agreement for public servants, known as the Public Service Stability Agreement 2018–2020.[14] This outlined a roadmap for the full and complete unwinding of the emergency legislation introduced during the financial crisis (FEMPI - Financial Emergency Measures in the Public Interest) as it affects, among other things, the remuneration of public servants and the pensions in payment of retired public servants.

Donohoe also formed part of the Government's negotiating team following the 2016 general election. This resulted in the formation of a minority Fine Gael government with Independents, underpinned by a confidence and supply agreement with the main opposition party Fianna Fáil.

His period as Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform ended on 27 June 2020, following the formation of the 32nd government led by Micheál Martin. He was succeeded by Michael McGrath.

Minister for Finance (2017–2022)

Following the appointment of Leo Varadkar as Taoiseach, Donohoe was appointed as Minister for Finance, taking office on 14 June 2017. On 10 October 2017, Donohoe presented his first budget as Minister for Finance.[15][16]

Donohoe presided over the public finance during a time when a budget surplus was recorded (in 2018) for the first time since the financial crisis (2006), marking a significant achievement for the Government.

Working with Cabinet colleagues, he engineered a new €116bn, 10-year National Development Plan which underpins Project Ireland 2040; a plan aimed at preparing for an Ireland in which an extra one million people will live and which will have 660,000 more people at work.[17] This also feeds into the Government's bid to increase Ireland's annual capital expenditure in line with EU norms. Budget 2019 saw an increase in capital expenditure by 25%, going from €5.7bn in 2018 to €7.2bn in 2019.

In both of his budgets as Minister for Finance, Donohoe made decisions to increase taxes in order to allow for increased spending. In Budget 2018, this was done by way of a tripling of the stamp duty rate on the sale of commercial property. The following year he reverted to the standard rate of VAT for the hospitality and services sector (going from 9% back up to 13.5%); a measure which had been introduced during the financial crisis in a bid to aid those sectors.

In 2018, Donohoe and Michael D'Arcy welcomed Ireland's issuing of its first green bond, making Ireland one of the first countries in the world to do so.[18] That year he also published Ireland's Roadmap on Corporation Tax (CT) taking stock of the changing international tax environment, outlining the actions Ireland has taken to date in the area of CT and the further actions to be taken over the coming years.[19]

Donohoe meets with US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen at the EU headquarters in 2021

Donohoe is an opponent of the European Commission's Digital Services Tax, instead favouring a more globalised approach to the matter through the work of the OECD. He is a staunch defender of Ireland 12.5% corporation tax, which he repeatedly says will neither go up nor down under his Government's tenure, offering security to businesses in that regard. Donohoe attended the Davos World Economic Forum in 2018 and 2019.[20][21] He has also attended the Bilderberg Meetings.[citation needed]

Donohoe takes his seat in the Convention Centre Dublin for the election of Micheál Martin as Taoiseach

Following the appointment of Micheál Martin as Taoiseach, Donohoe was appointed for a second term as Minister for Finance on 27 June 2020.

Minister for Public Expenditure, National Development Plan Delivery and Reform (2022–present)

On 17 December 2022, after Leo Varadkar succeeded as Taoiseach in a rotation agreement with Micheál Martin, Donohoe was appointed as Minister for Public Expenditure, National Development Plan Delivery and Reform, while Michael McGrath was appointed as Minister for Finance.[22]

In January 2023, the Phoenix Magazine and the Irish Examiner revealed that Donohoe failed to properly declare a donation of services from a company in 2016. The Standards in Public Office Commission (SIPO) made a complaint against Donohoe that the Designer Group engineering firm used two company vans and six employees to erect and later remove election posters for Donohoe in his Dublin Central constituency during the 2016 general election campaign.[23] On 14 January, Donohoe began conducting a review of his election expenses statements amid the allegations which he had denied.[24] The next day, on 15 January, he apologised for making incorrect declarations of election expenses and donations during his campaign and said he would recuse himself from any decision making around ethics legislation while the SIPO investigated him, but refused to resign as minister.[25][26][27] The controversy intensified on 20 January when Donohoe identified a new issue over expenses from the 2020 general election.[28][29]

President of the Eurogroup

Donohoe and Austria's Finance Minister Gernot Blümel at a discussion event in 2020

On 9 July 2020, Donohoe was elected as President of the Eurogroup, succeeding Mário Centeno, taking office on 13 July 2020.[1] Donohoe is considered to have performed well as President of the Eurogroup by his European peers.[30]

Donohoe's term as president was initially due to expire in January 2023. However, under the coalition agreement reached by Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and the Green Party, Micheál Martin was due to resign as Taoiseach and be replaced by Leo Varadkar in December 2022, with Martin becoming Tánaiste in place of Varadkar.[31] As part of this change of Taoiseach, a wider cabinet reshuffle was expected, with Michael McGrath of Fianna Fáil expected to become Minister for Finance in place of Donohoe, and Donohoe assuming McGrath's role as Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform. This would mean that McGrath, as Minister for Finance, would attend Eurogroup meetings on behalf of Ireland instead of Donohoe. Despite this, the Irish Government announced in November 2022 its intention to nominate Donohoe for a second term as President of the Eurogroup, which, if such Donohoe was re-elected as president, would result in two Irish ministers attending Eurogroup meetings; Donohoe would attend as President of the Eurogroup (despite no longer being the national finance minister) and McGrath would attend on behalf of Ireland as Minister for Finance.[32]

On 5 December 2022, Donohoe was re-elected as President of the Eurogroup, beginning his second term on 13 January 2023.[33]

Personal life

Donohoe married British-born Justine Davey in 2001. They have two children, a son and a daughter, and live in Phibsborough.


Donohoe regularly writes book reviews for The Irish Times, as well as for other publications.[34]


  1. ^ a b "Minister Donohoe elected as President of Eurogroup". Government of Ireland. 9 July 2020. Archived from the original on 9 July 2020. Retrieved 9 July 2020.
  2. ^ "Paschal Donohoe". Oireachtas Members Database. Archived from the original on 18 May 2018. Retrieved 3 January 2009.
  3. ^ a b "Paschal Donohoe - A reluctant contender who may find it hard to say no". Irish Independent. 5 February 2017. Archived from the original on 5 February 2017. Retrieved 5 June 2017.
  4. ^ Sherlock, D.J.M. (2006). Trinity College Record Volume 2006. Dublin: Trinity College Dublin Press. ISBN 1-871408-07-5.
  5. ^ a b "Paschal Donohoe". Archived from the original on 12 March 2010. Retrieved 3 January 2009.
  6. ^ "Late show row senator for election". Evening Herald. 25 March 2009. Archived from the original on 27 March 2009. Retrieved 28 March 2009.
  7. ^ "Lucinda Creighton to resign as junior minister, Paschal Donohoe takes role". RTÉ News. 12 July 2013. Archived from the original on 9 February 2014. Retrieved 7 March 2014.
  8. ^ Fiach Kelly, Stephen Collins (journalist) (11 July 2014). "Five new ministers appointed to Cabinet". Irish Times. Archived from the original on 11 July 2014. Retrieved 11 July 2014.
  9. ^ "Opening speech to Dáil Éireann on the Principles of a Sale of Aer Lingus shares". 27 May 2015. Archived from the original on 18 December 2017. Retrieved 9 April 2019.
  10. ^ "The new cabinet". Irish Independent. 7 May 2016. Archived from the original on 10 May 2017. Retrieved 5 June 2017.
  11. ^ Leahy, Pat (17 September 2016). "Paschal Donohoe to take lead role as budget provides acid test". Irish Times. Archived from the original on 6 October 2017. Retrieved 5 June 2017.
  12. ^ "Minister Paschal Donohoe warns budget 2017 not going to be a giveaway". Irish Examiner. 11 August 2016. Archived from the original on 6 October 2017. Retrieved 5 June 2017.
  13. ^ "Statement in respect of Garda Associations' Labour Court Recommendation". 4 November 2016. Archived from the original on 18 December 2017. Retrieved 9 April 2019.
  14. ^ "Minister Donohoe to publish the Public Service Pay and Pensions Bill 2017". 7 November 2017. Archived from the original on 18 December 2017. Retrieved 9 April 2019.
  15. ^ "'It was important we had something for everyone', says Leo as Budget 2018 looks set to bring about minimal gains for most". Irish Independent. 10 October 2017. Archived from the original on 10 October 2017. Retrieved 11 October 2017.
  16. ^ "Irish Department of Finance" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on 4 December 2017. Retrieved 26 November 2017.
  17. ^ "Reimagining our Country: Government launches €116bn Project Ireland 2040". 16 February 2018. Archived from the original on 15 April 2018.
  18. ^ "Ministers Donohoe and D'arcy welcome successful green bond sale". 10 October 2018. Archived from the original on 24 June 2019. Retrieved 9 April 2019.
  19. ^ "Minister Donohoe publishes Ireland's Corporation Tax Roadmap". 5 September 2018.
  20. ^ Oireachtas, Houses of the (22 March 2022). "World Economic Forum – Tuesday, 22 Mar 2022 – Parliamentary Questions (33rd Dáil) – Houses of the Oireachtas". Retrieved 28 September 2022.
  21. ^ "CNBC Interview with Ireland's Finance Minister, Paschal Donohoe from the World Economic Forum 2018". CNBC. 26 January 2018. Retrieved 28 September 2022.
  22. ^ Lehane, Micheál (17 December 2022). "Reshuffle: Who is in the new Cabinet?". RTÉ News. Retrieved 18 December 2022.
  23. ^ O'Connell, Hugh; Sheehan, Maeve (14 January 2023). "Paschal Donohoe denies breaching Sipo rules on election campaign donations". Irish Independent. Retrieved 15 January 2023.
  24. ^ Moreau, Emer (14 January 2023). "Donohoe to review his records from 2016 election after complaint to SIPO". Retrieved 15 January 2023.
  25. ^ Meskill, Tommy (15 January 2023). "Donohoe 'regrets' undeclared election campaign costs". RTÉ News. Retrieved 15 January 2023.
  26. ^ Horgan-Jones, Jack (15 January 2023). "Paschal Donohoe apologises and amends Sipo statement after complaint". The Irish Times. Retrieved 15 January 2023.
  27. ^ Ryan, Philip (15 January 2023). "Public Expenditure Minister Paschal Donohoe apologises for not declaring election expenses". Irish Independent. Retrieved 15 January 2023.
  28. ^ Murphy, David (20 January 2023). "Donohoe identifies 'issue' over election expenses". RTÉ News. Retrieved 21 January 2023.
  29. ^ Leahy, Pat; McGee, Harry (21 January 2023). "Pressure mounts on Donohoe as new election expenses issue emerges". The Irish Times. Retrieved 21 January 2023.
  30. ^ Connelly, Tony (5 November 2022). "An Irish Solution to a European Problem?". RTÉ News.
  31. ^ "FF, FG and Green Party agree historic coalition deal". RTÉ News. 26 June 2020.
  32. ^ Hosford, Paul (4 November 2022). "Paschal Donohoe to be nominated for second term as Eurogroup president". Irish Examiner. Retrieved 6 November 2022.
  33. ^ Goodbody, Will (5 December 2022). "Donohoe re-elected Eurogroup president". RTÉ News. Retrieved 5 December 2022.
  34. ^ "Paschal Donohoe". The Irish Times. Retrieved 18 December 2022.
Political offices Preceded byLucinda Creighton Minister of State for European Affairs 2013–2014 Succeeded byDara Murphy Preceded byLeo Varadkar Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport 2014–2016 Succeeded byShane Ross Preceded byBrendan Howlin Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform 2016–2020 Succeeded byMichael McGrath Preceded byMichael Noonan Minister for Finance 2017–2022 Succeeded byMichael McGrath Preceded byMichael McGrathas Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Minister for Public Expenditure, National Development Plan Delivery and Reform 2022–present Incumbent Diplomatic posts Preceded byMário Centeno President of the Eurogroup 2020–present Incumbent
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Paschal Donohoe
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