Early and private life
After completing his university studies, he returned to Tullaroan to manage his family farm. During that time period, he also founded an insurance and real estate business in Urlingford
in the 1980s.
Around the time of his 25th birthday, he was elected Council chairman, the youngest council chairman in the country.
He served in this role on two separate occasions, first between 1985–1986 and then between 1989 and 1990.
During his first few years in the Dáil, he was appointed to a number of key positions in opposition, serving in his first few years as the Opposition Spokesperson for the Food Industry (1989–1991), Consumer Affairs (1991–1993), and subsequently Regional Affairs & European Development (1993–1994).
Minister of State and subsequent Chairmanship of the Fine Gael Parliamentary Party
Hogan served as Minister of State at the Department of Finance
with special responsibility for the Office of Public Works
between December 1994 and February 1995. However, he subsequently tendered his resignation when a staff member accidentally sent out budget details to a journalist before it was announced in the Dáil. At the time, opposition parties described Hogan as ‘the fall guy’ for the budget leaks. Hogan was quoted as saying that "he [had] no regrets about his decision to resign. My only concern in all of this is to ensure that the integrity of the government is maintained."
Following his resignation, Hogan returned to a backbench position in the government. Despite the controversy surrounding the incident, Hogan was promoted as Chairman of the Fine Gael parliamentary party at the age of 35, a position he held until 2001.
As Chairman, Hogan had the opportunity to develop the organisational roots of Fine Gael and strengthened the network between councillors and sub-groups within the Fine Gael party.
2002 leadership election and subsequent leadership contest
In the run-up to the 2002 general election
, Hogan was appointed Director of Organisation in Fine Gael. Upon the resignation of Michael Noonan
as party leader of Fine Gael after the party's poor results in that election, Hogan opted to contest the subsequent election for the new Fine Gael leader
While he conceded the contest to Enda Kenny, he was appointed as Opposition Spokesperson for Enterprise, Trade and Employment and became a key member of the Fine Gael parliamentary party as it started the rebuilding process. Hogan was again appointed as Director of Organisation for the 2007 general election
Soon after, he became the Opposition Spokesperson for Fine Gael on Environment, Heritage and Local government for the next 4 years.
2011 general election and Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government
Local government reform
Hogan was responsible for several pieces of legislation to reform local government and introduce gender quotas so as to increase the representation of women in Irish political life. Hogan introduced the Local Governments Bill, which aimed to streamline local governance, abolishing 80 town councils
with the overall number of councils operating in Ireland going from 114 to 31.
The reforms were enacted as the Local Government Reform Act 2014
and were planned to come into effect in 2014, to coincide with the next scheduled local elections
In addition to local government reform, Hogan also introduced reform within the political party framework. As part of a series of reforms, he introduced measures to support female participation in politics. The Electoral (Amendment) (Political Funding) Bill 2011 would see parties lose half of their central exchequer funding unless the minority sex among their candidates accounts for 30 per cent of the entire national ticket at the next general election. The reform was brought in successfully alongside additional amendments to party political funding mechanisms.
In advance of the 2016 General Election
, Hogan noted that "this legislation has had the unprecedented effect of all major political parties selecting a minimum of 30% women candidates. It is my firm belief that this will benefit Irish political life, and indeed Irish society as a whole. Yes, there will naturally be teething problems, but this necessary acceleration of equality will benefit us all in the coming years".
Taxes on property and water charges
As Minister, Hogan had responsibility for implementing a series of reforms as part of Ireland's agreement with the European Troika
. In July 2011, he outlined plans for a €100 annual “household charge” that would become operable from January 2012 for two years, ahead of the introduction in 2014 of a full property tax based on site valuations. 250,000 households, some 14%, would be exempt from paying the charge. Hogan accepted that the tax would cause hardship to some families but presented it as the minimum possible charge he could have applied, saying it would cost “a modest €2 per week”.
This tax was the precursor to the Local property tax
later introduced by Michael Noonan.
Hogan also confirmed that a new State utility company, Irish Water
, would be set up in the autumn to oversee the process of installing meters in all domestic dwellings. That would pave the way, he said, for domestic water charges in two years' time based on household usage. The new charges would be the first form of property tax
to be introduced, since the then Fianna Fáil government led by Jack Lynch
abolished domestic rates in 1977.
EU Agriculture and Rural Development Commissioner
In 2016, Hogan embarked on a "diplomatic offensive" to build trade relations with non-EU states throughout the world and build new markets for European producers.
So far, this has involved trade missions abroad to Mexico
, with trips to Japan
scheduled for later in the year. Trade delegations of EU agri-businesses have accompanied the Commissioner on these trips to build relationships with third country counterparts.
Mercosur trade deal
In 2019 a free trade deal
caused controversy in Ireland, with the farm lobby fearing competition from low-cost South American meat imports. Some of Hogan's Fine Gael colleagues suggested denying his expected reappointment to the incoming commission because of his involvement in the negotiations.
Conclusion of term
In mid-September 2019, the Juncker Commission handed the reins of power over to Ursula von der Leyen
and her College of Commissioners, ending Hogan's term of office as Agriculture and Rural Development Commissioner.
EU Trade Commissioner
Von der Leyen's proposal of Hogan as EU Trade Commissioner
went smoothly through the EU Parliament when he "made clear that tackling China’s unfair trade practices will be a major challenge during his five-year mandate." while he said that he would "work to conclude" the EU-China Comprehensive Agreement on Investment by the end of 2020. There was alarm in Parliament about the growing number of Chinese takeovers in the high-tech arena. Hogan was to "take over as EU Trade Commissioner in November after the Parliament’s plenary confirms the full commission in a vote scheduled for 23 October."
On 1 December, one month later than had originally been scheduled, Hogan, who was 59 years old at the time, was officially pronounced Trade Commissioner.
On 17 January 2020, as Donald Trump
was held to be bluffing by Hogan over the incompatibility of Five Eyes
. "I think that is a bit of sabre-rattling. I don’t think that will actually happen... We can call [Trump’s] bluff on that one, the US laying down conditions over Huawei... We can’t say to Huawei, 'you cannot come into the EU', that’s not what we want." Hogan's comments were echoed by German Chancellor Angela Merkel
who said more diversification was needed "so that we never make ourselves dependent on one firm. I think it is wrong to simply exclude someone per se."
Hogan is separated with one adult son. He is also a keen amateur golfer who has been known to compete internationally in competitions in Holland as well as Connemara in his native Ireland.
On 24 August 2011, during an Oireachtas Golf Society outing, ex-Taoiseach John Bruton
's former administrator, Anne O'Connell, alleged that Hogan made a lewd comment in her direction. She immediately complained in writing to the Taoiseach Enda Kenny
. Hogan issued a letter of apology a few days later saying: "I unreservedly apologise for those remarks which were totally inappropriate in a personal sense. . . It was intended in a jocose and private basis and certainly not intended as insulting."
On 19 August 2020, Hogan attended an Oireachtas Golf Society dinner
with 80 other attendees, while COVID-19
restrictions on such gatherings were in place. Although Hogan had been living in County Kildare—subject to a local lockdown during this time—he claimed that he was fully compliant with restrictions, despite having entered and exited the county on his way to Galway. In the fallout, known as 'Golfgate', a government minister in attendance, Dara Calleary
, was forced to resign.
Hogan resigned from his role as European Commissioner for Trade
on 26 August 2020.
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Last edited on 6 July 2021, at 19:14
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