|European Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science|
9 February 2010
|President||José Manuel Barroso|
|Preceded by||Janez Potočnik (Science and Research)|
|Minister for Equality and Law Reform
18 November 1994 – 15 December 1994
|Preceded by||Mervyn Taylor|
|Succeeded by||Mervyn Taylor|
|Minister for Justice|
4 January 1993 – 15 December 1994
|Preceded by||Pádraig Flynn|
|Succeeded by||Nora Owen|
|Minister for Tourism, Transport and Communications|
11 February 1992 – 12 January 1993
|Preceded by||Séamus Brennan|
|Succeeded by||Charlie McCreevy|
|Minister for the Gaeltacht|
11 December 1979 – 30 June 1981
|Preceded by||Denis Gallagher|
|Succeeded by||Paddy O'Toole|
5 September 1950 |
|Political party||Fianna Fáil|
|Alma mater||Our Lady of Mercy College, Carysfort|
Máire Geoghegan-Quinn (/ /; born 5 September 1950) is an Irish politician, and is the current European Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science. She previously served as a Fianna Fáil Teachta Dála (TD) for the Galway West constituency from 1975 to 1997. She served in a number of ministries in Ireland in the early 1980s and early 1990s.
Early and personal life
Máire Geoghegan was born in Carna, County Galway in September 1950. She was educated at Coláiste Muire, Tourmakeady, in County Mayo and at Carysfort College in Blackrock from where she qualified as a teacher. She is married to John Quinn, with whom she has two children.
In 1996, her novel The Green Diamond, about four young women sharing a house in Dublin in the 1960s, was published.
Her father, Johnny Geoghegan, was Fianna Fáil TD for Galway West from 1954 until his death in 1975. His daughter successfully contested the subsequent by-election. From 1977 to 1979 she worked as Parliamentary Secretary (Junior Minister) at the Department of Industry, Commerce and Energy. She served as a member of Galway City Council from 1985 to 1991.
Geoghegan-Quinn supported Charles Haughey in the 1979 Fianna Fáil leadership election and was subsequently appointed to the cabinet post of Minister for the Gaeltacht. Thus she became the first woman to hold an Irish cabinet post since 1922 (after Countess Markievicz had been appointed Minister for Labour in 1919 during the First Dáil) and the first woman to hold such a post in the history of the Irish state.
In 1982 she was appointed Minister of State at the Department of Education. Her tenure was short because the 23rd Dáil lasted only 279 days, and a Fine Gael–Labour Party coalition was elected at the November 1982 general election.
When Fianna Fáil returned to power after the 1987 general election, Geoghegan-Quinn became Minister of State at the Department of the Taoiseach. She resigned in 1991 in opposition to Charles Haughey's leadership of the party. The following year Albert Reynolds, whom she now backed for the leadership, became Taoiseach and Fianna Fáil leader. Geoghegan-Quinn was appointed Minister for Tourism, Transport and Communications for her loyalty to Reynolds. In 1993 she became Minister for Justice, introducing substantial law reform legislation, including the decriminalisation of homosexuality.
When Reynolds resigned in November 1994, she was seen as his preferred successor for the leadership of the party. She stood against Bertie Ahern and a win would have made her the first female Taoiseach. On the day of the vote, however, she withdrew from the contest 'in the interests of party unity'. It is was reported that she had the support of only 15 members of the 66-strong parliamentary party.
At the 1997 general election she retired from politics completely, citing privacy issues, after details about her 17-year old son's expulsion from school appeared in the newspapers. "If his mother had been a homemaker, an architect or a businesswoman, this simply would not have happened," she commented. Other reports suggested that she saw her prospects for promotion under Ahern as poor, and a weak showing in constituency opinion polls indicated her seat could be in danger. She became a non-executive director of Aer Lingus, a member of the Board of the Declan Ganley-owned Ganley Group and wrote a column for The Irish Times.
In April 2010, after numerous calls were made over several days on Geoghegan-Quinn to surrender her pensions as a former Irish politician - which are worth over €104,000 - while she remained in a paid public office, she did so.
- "Mrs. Máire Geoghegan-Quinn". Oireachtas Members Database. Retrieved 13 November 2009.
- "Máire Geoghegan-Quinn". ElectionsIreland.org. Retrieved 13 November 2009.
- David Sharrock, "New coalition likely to avert Irish poll; Finance minister looks certain to take over from Reynolds", The Guardian, 19 November 1994.
- John Burns, "Softly, softly, says Ahern", The Sunday Times, 20 November 1994.
- Alan Murdoch, "Media blamed as Ireland's first woman cabinet minister quits", The Independent, 28 January 1997.
- Denis Coughlan, "Maybe more than a matter of family privacy Maire Geoghegan-Quinn will be a big loss to Fianna Fail, but the denizens of Leinster House are already calling 'next business'," Irish Times, 28 January 1997.
- John Burns and Rory Godson, "Desperately seeking candidates", The Sunday Times, 19 January 1997.
- "Geoghegan-Quinn is Irish nominee to commission". RTÉ News. 27 April 2010.
- "Barroso unveils new Commission line-up". EUobserver.com. 27 November 2009.
- "Sam Smyth: Ministers give up their aul' sins in bonfire of the vanities". Irish Independent. 28 April 2010.