Having brought in water charges, overseen the implementation of the household charge and having being linked with the property tax, Kilkenny TD, Phil Hogan has been rewarded for his loyalty and for taking the harsh, unpopular decisions.
He was named as Ireland’s next EU Commissioner by Taoiseach, Enda Kenny on Friday morning. An appointment foreseen by the Kilkenny People in last week’s issue.
While in Cabinet, Kilkenny has received the highest per capita spend by government Departments since he took office, years of neglect under Fianna Fail led regimes.
He has confirmed that he will waive his entitlement to two Irish pension payments worth a combined €61,000 annually consisting of a gross TD pension of more than €43,000 and a ministerial gross annual pension of over €17,000 related to his three years as Minister for the Environment.
And the by-election to fill the seat to be vacated by him in October is unlikely to be held until April of next year.
And already, there is intense speculation that former TD, Bobby Aylward will be on the Fianna Fail ticket next spring.
Fine Gael will, likely, look to Sen Pat O’Neill and Cllr David Fitzgerald while Sinn Fein are likely to put forward Cllr Kathleen Funchion.
Deputy Hogan will be entitled to gross payments totalling more than €336,446 in his first year as European commissioner once his nomination is ratified by the EU Parliament which votes on the suitability of candidates nominated by the member States in consultation with the president of the European Commission.
If successful, Mr Hogan, , will receive a basic salary of €20,833 a month for the role of commissioner, or €250,000 a year before tax. If he gets a plum portfolio that figure increases again.
In addition to this, new commissioners are entitled to a one-off “installation allowance” of two months’ basic salary, currently worth €41,665, which is not taxable.
And, as well as the basic salary, they also receive a “residence allowance” of 15% of their basic salary of almost €37,500 annually and a further allowance for “representation expenses” totalling almost €7,300 annually, neither of which are subject to tax.
The travel costs and moving expenses associated with Mr Hogan taking up the office will be reimbursed to him.
He may also avail of the “diplomatic” privilege, which means EU officials may be exempted from VAT on certain goods in the year after taking up office.
Mr Hogan’s basic salary from the European Commission is also liable for tax, which is levied in income bands ranging from 8 per cent to 45 per cent. The basic salary also incurs a “solidarity levy” of 7 per cent.
The taxes mean that, on a basic commissioner salary of €250,000, Mr Hogan can expect to pay about €100,000 in taxes.
Commissioners also make pension contributions of 10.3 per cent, as well as sickness, accident and unemployment insurance contributions.