Mairead McGuinness

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Mairead McGuinness
Mairead McGuinness (2020).jpg
European Commissioner for Financial Stability, Financial Services and
the Capital Markets Union
Assumed office
12 October 2020
PresidentUrsula von der Leyen
Preceded byValdis Dombrovskis
First Vice-President of the European Parliament
In office
18 January 2017 – 12 October 2020
PresidentAntonio Tajani
David Sassoli
Preceded byAntonio Tajani
Succeeded byRoberta Metsola
Member of the European Parliament
In office
1 July 2014 – 12 October 2020
Succeeded byColm Markey
In office
1 July 2004 – 1 July 2014
Personal details
Mairead McGuinness

(1959-06-13) 13 June 1959 (age 61)
Drogheda, County Louth, Ireland
Political partyFine Gael
Other political
European People's Party
Tom Duff
(m. 1994)
EducationUniversity College Dublin
WebsiteOfficial website

Mairead McGuinness (born 13 June 1959) is an Irish politician, who has served as the European Commissioner for Financial Stability, Financial Services and the Capital Markets Union since October 2020. A member of Fine Gael, she has also served as First Vice-President of the European Parliament since 2017. She served as a Member of the European Parliament (MEP) for East from 2004 to 2014 and has served as MEP for Midlands–North-West since 2014, making her Ireland’s longest serving MEP.[1] In the European Parliament, she sat with the European People's Party (EPP).[2][3]

Education and media career[edit]

McGuinness was the first female graduate of University College Dublin's Bachelor of Science degree in Agricultural economics in 1980. In 1984, she completed a diploma in accounting and finance and followed a career in the media before entering politics in 2004.[2] She worked as a researcher on The Late Late Show, as a presenter on RTÉ's Ear to the Ground and Celebrity Farm, a journalist with the Irish Farmers Journal and editor of the Irish Independent's farming supplement.

Political career[edit]

Member of the European Parliament, 2004–2020[edit]

In early 2004, McGuinness declared her intention to seek a nomination for the European Parliament election for Fine Gael. This followed speculation linking her to a similar move for the Progressive Democrats. At the selection convention in February 2004, she was selected to run alongside Avril Doyle. This proved controversial[citation needed], as it was widely expected that Fine Gael could win only one of the three seats in the East constituency. However, a stronger than expected performance from Fine Gael in the election saw both women being elected.[citation needed]

McGuinness has been appointed to serve on several European Parliament committees, including the Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development and the delegation for relations with Australia and New Zealand] McGuinness is a substitute member of the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety, the Committee on Petitions and the delegation for relations with China.[citation needed]

She was a Fine Gael candidate for the Louth constituency at the 2007 general election, but was not elected.[4] She was re-elected on the first count at the 2009 European election, topping the poll with 25.7% of the first preference votes.[4]

In April 2011, McGuinness announced that she wished to run for President of Ireland and would seek the Fine Gael party nomination for the 2011 presidential election.[5] In July 2011, she was defeated for the nomination by Gay Mitchell.[6]

At the 2014 European election, she was re-elected to the European Parliament for the new Midlands–North-West constituency.[citation needed]

In July 2014, McGuinness was elected Vice-President of the European Parliament;[7] she secured an absolute majority to go through in the first round of voting by secret ballot.[8] Under the leadership of President Martin Schulz, she oversees the parliament's information policy, press and citizens relations. In addition, she serves as chairwoman of the Working Group on Information and Communication Policy and as co-chair of the Inter-Institutional Group on Communication.[9]

In addition to her committee assignments and duties as vice-president, McGuinness is a member of the European Parliament Intergroup on the Welfare and Conservation of Animals[10] and the European Parliament Intergroup on Children's Rights.[11] Alongside Karin Kadenbach, she also co-chairs the MEP Heart Group, a group of parliamentarians who have an interest in promoting measures that will help reduce the burden of cardiovascular diseases (CVD).[12] In November 2016, One Voice For Languages[13] welcomed McGuinness as their patron.[14]

Also in November 2016, McGuinness officially announced her candidacy for the office of President of the European Parliament.[15] Instead, Italian MEP and former European Commissioner Antonio Tajani was elected as the EPP group's nominee to replace incumbent president Martin Schulz; McGuinness received the second highest number of votes.[16] Ahead of the 2019 European elections, she announced to run again for the post and was re-elected, exceeding the quota on the first count.[17][18]

Following the 2019 elections, McGuiness was part of a cross-party working group in charge of drafting the European Parliament's four-year work program on digitization.[19]

European Commissioner nomination[edit]

McGuinness was one of two people, along with Andrew McDowell, who the Irish government nominated on 4 September 2020 for one position on the European Commission to replace Phil Hogan.[20] On 8 September 2020, McGuinness was proposed by European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen as the new Commissioner for Financial Stability, Financial Services and Capital Markets Union.[21]

Other activities[edit]

Political positions[edit]

In 2019, McGuinness proposed a plan that would privilege religious groups in consultations with the European Parliament. The proposal was shelved after a group of MEPs complained that it would create "a highly undesirable and untransparent privileged lobby channel for religious organisations".[23]

Personal life[edit]

McGuinness is married to Tom Duff, a sheep farmer. The couple have four children.[24]


  1. ^ Gabriela Baczynska and Padraic Halpin (September 4, 2020), Ireland likely to lose EU trade portfolio as nominees submitted Reuters.
  2. ^ a b "Mairead McGuinness". European Parliament. Retrieved 22 January 2012.
  3. ^ "Press statement by the President of the European Commission". Periscope. 8 September 2020. Retrieved 8 September 2020.
  4. ^ a b "Mairead McGuinness". Retrieved 11 May 2009.
  5. ^ "Maireád McGuinness in Áras bid". The Irish Times. 15 April 2011. Retrieved 25 April 2011.
  6. ^ De Bréadún, Deaglán (9 July 2011). "Mitchell chosen as FG candidate". The Irish Times. Retrieved 9 July 2011.
  7. ^ "Mairead McGuinness". European Parliament. Retrieved 25 May 2016.
  8. ^ Dave Keating (1 July 2014), European Parliament elects vice-presidents European Voice.
  9. ^ Parliament vice-president portfolios assigned European Voice, 13 November 2014.
  10. ^ Members European Parliament Intergroup on the Welfare and Conservation of Animals.
  11. ^ Members of the European Parliament Intergroup on Children’s Rights European Parliament.
  12. ^ Supporters MEP Heart Group.
  13. ^ "Speaking with one voice on languages". The Irish Times. Retrieved 13 November 2016.
  14. ^ "Live, Love, Learn Languages". One Voice for Languages. Archived from the original on 14 November 2016. Retrieved 13 November 2016.
  15. ^ Maïa de La Baume and David M. Herszenhorn (29 November 2016), Pittella plans Parliament presidency bid Politico Europe.
  16. ^ Suzanne Lynch (13 December 2016), Mairead McGuinness fails in bid for European Parliament president Irish Times.
  17. ^ Eline Schaart and Cristina Gonzalez (26 March 2019), Ireland’s McGuinness ready to run again for Parliament president Politico Europe.
  18. ^ "Mairead McGuinness is the first Irish MEP elected in European elections". Journal. 27 May 2019. Retrieved 28 May 2019.
  19. ^ Florian Eder (June 13, 2019), POLITICO Brussels Playbook, presented by Google: Madrid’s moment — Parliament working groups sneak peak — Happy birthday, GDPR Politico Europe.
  20. ^ "Andrew McDowell and Mairead McGuinness candidates for commissioner role". The Irish Times. Retrieved 4 September 2020.
  21. ^ Correspondent, Naomi O’Leary Europe. "Mairead McGuinness named as Ireland's European commissioner". The Irish Times. Retrieved 8 September 2020.
  22. ^ Friends of Europe appoints 29 new members to its Board of Trustees Friends of Europe, press release of June 25, 2020.
  23. ^ "Revealed: controversial plan to boost religious lobby in Brussels, as far right pledges to fight for 'Christian Europe'". openDemocracy. Retrieved 7 October 2020.
  24. ^ Maïa de La Baume (September 8, 2020), 5 things to know about Mairead McGuinness, the EU’s future finance chief Politico Europe.

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Phil Hogan
Irish European Commissioner
European Parliament
New constituency Member of the European Parliament for East
Constituency abolished
Member of the European Parliament for

Succeeded by
Colm Markey