Paschal Donohoe

Paschal Donohoe (born 19 September 1974) is an Irish Fine Gael politician who has served as Minister for Finance since June 2017 and Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform since May 2016. He has been a Teachta Dála (TD) for the Dublin Central constituency since 2011. He previously served as Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport from 2014 to 2016 and Minister of State for European Affairs from 2013 to 2014.[1]

Paschal Donohoe

Minister for Finance
Assumed office
14 June 2017
TaoiseachLeo Varadkar
Preceded byMichael Noonan
Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform
Assumed office
6 May 2016
TaoiseachEnda Kenny
Leo Varadkar
Preceded byBrendan Howlin
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 for European Affairs
In office
12 July 2013  11 July 2014
TaoiseachEnda Kenny
Preceded byLucinda Creighton
Succeeded byDara Murphy
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
Phibsborough, Dublin, Ireland
Political partyFine Gael
Spouse(s)Justine Davey (m. 2001)
Alma materTrinity College Dublin

Donohoe is originally from Blanchardstown. He studied Politics and Economics at Trinity College Dublin. From 1997, he worked with Procter & Gamble in the UK, before returning to Ireland and taking up a position with them. In 2004, Donohoe was elected to Dublin City Council and served on a number of committees before his election to Seanad Éireann in 2007 and his eventual election to Dáil Éireann in 2011.

After an initial period on the backbenches, Donohoe was appointed Minister of State for European Affairs, following the resignation of Lucinda Creighton in July 2013. A year later he was promoted to cabinet as Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport.

Following the formation of a Fine Gael minority government in May 2016, Donohoe was appointed Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform. In June 2017, after Leo Varadkar, succeeded Enda Kenny as Taoiseach, Varadkar appointed Donohoe as Minister for Finance.[2]

Early political life

Donohoe was born in Phibsborough, Dublin, 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. Here he studied Politics and Economics and graduated with a first-class honours degree.

From Trinity College, Donohoe was selected by the multinational company Procter & Gamble, for their fast-track graduate training programme. He spent six years working in the UK and became director of sales and marketing. 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 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 for the Administrative Panel in July 2007.[4] 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,[5] but he was unsuccessful in this election. He topped the poll at the 2011 general election and was elected on the 2nd count.[4]

In Government

Minister of State for European Affairs

Following the resignation of Lucinda Creighton, after voting against the Government on an amendment to the abortion bill, Donohoe was appointed as Minister of State for European Affairs on 12 July 2013.[6]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport

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.[7]

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.

Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform

Donohoe was appointed Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, following the formation of a Fine Gael minority government in May 2016.[8]

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.[9] Hopes of a budget splurge were quashed after Donohoe signalled Brexit and other world events would have “seismic consequences” on Ireland.[10] 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.

Donohoe also negotiated a new national pay agreement for public servants, known as the Public Service Stability Agreement 2018-2020. 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 General Election of 2016. This resulted in the formation of a minority Government with Independents, which is underpinned by a Confidence and Supply Agreement the main Opposition Party (Fianna Fáil).

Minister for Finance

Following the appointment of Leo Varadkar as Taoiseach, Donohoe was appointed as Minister for Finance, he took office on 14 June 2017. On 10 October 2017, Donohoe presented his first budget as Minister for Finance.[11][12]

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. 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 Deputy D'Arcy welcomed Ireland's issuing of its first green bond, making Ireland one of the first countries in the world to do so.

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.

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 is a regular attendee at the Davos World Economic Forum. He also attends at the Bilderberg Meetings.

Personal life

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


Donohoe is a keen reader and a regular contributor to the Irish Times Book Reviews & other publications.

Some reviews here: Isaiah Berlin's ideas & me

Currency, Credit & Crisis; Central Banking in Ireland & Europe - Honohan

Firefighting; The Financial Crisis and its Lessons - Bernanke, Geithner, Paulson

The Third Pillar: The Revival of Community in a Polarized World - Rajan

Enough Said: What's Wrong with the Language of Politics? - Thompson


  1. "Paschal Donohoe". Oireachtas Members Database. Retrieved 3 January 2009.
  2. "Frances Fitzgerald is Tánaiste in new Cabinet". RTÉ News. Retrieved 7 May 2016.
  3. "Paschal Donohoe - A reluctant contender who may find it hard to say no". Irish Independent. 5 February 2017. Retrieved 5 June 2017.
  4. "Paschal Donohoe". Retrieved 3 January 2009.
  5. "Late show row senator for election". Evening Herald. 25 March 2009. Retrieved 28 March 2009.
  6. "Lucinda Creighton to resign as junior minister, Paschal Donohoe takes role". RTÉ News. 12 July 2013.
  7. Fiach Kelly, Stephen Collins (journalist) (11 July 2014). "Five new ministers appointed to Cabinet". Irish Times. Retrieved 11 July 2014.
  8. "The new cabinet". Irish Independent. 7 May 2016. Retrieved 5 June 2017.
  9. Leahy, Pat (17 September 2016). "Paschal Donohoe to take lead role as budget provides acid test". Irish Times. Retrieved 5 June 2017.
  10. "Minister Paschal Donohoe warns budget 2017 not going to be a giveaway". Irish Examiner. 11 August 2016. Retrieved 5 June 2017.
  11. "'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. Retrieved 11 October 2017.
  12. "Irish Department of Finance" (PDF).
Preceded by
Bertie Ahern
Fianna Fáil
Fine Gael Teachta Dála
for Dublin Central

Political offices
Preceded by
Lucinda Creighton
Minister of State for European Affairs
Succeeded by
Dara Murphy
Preceded by
Leo Varadkar
Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport
Succeeded by
Shane Ross
Preceded by
Brendan Howlin
Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform
Preceded by
Michael Noonan
Minister for Finance
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