IRELAND's new EU Commissioner Phil Hogan has secured the plum Agriculture job, the Irish Independent can reveal.
The former environment minister will be handed control of 40pc of the EU's €150bn yearly budget - a total of €60bn.
Mr Hogan's new role, which includes responsibility for rural affairs, is a boost to Ireland's €24bn agri-food business, which accounts for 150,000 jobs and exports around the globe.
The appointment also strengthens Ireland's political clout in Brussels and other key European capitals, as the Agriculture Commissioner is seen as a pivotal figure, capable of building political links and influence across the entire EU system.
"Mr Hogan's appointment to agriculture reflects confidence in his deal-making skills and the Taoiseach's relationship with incoming Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker," a source said.
The 54-year-old, a Fine Gael TD for his native Kilkenny for the past 25 years, will receive a salary and allowances of almost €300,000 per year.
Most of this is subject to EU taxes, which are expected to cut about €100,000 from his take-home pay.
*The full story - and detailed analysis on Phil Hogan's new role - is in today's print edition of the Irish Independent.