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Máire Geoghegan-Quinn

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Title: Máire Geoghegan-Quinn  
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Subject: Pádraig Flynn, Albert Reynolds, Séamus Brennan, Directorate-General for Research and Innovation (European Commission), Ray MacSharry
Collection: 1950 Births, Alumni of Carysfort College, Female Government Ministers of the Republic of Ireland, Female Teachtaí Dála, Fianna Fáil Politicians, Fianna Fáil Tds, Irish European Commissioners, Irish Schoolteachers, Living People, Members of the 20Th Dáil, Members of the 21St Dáil, Members of the 22Nd Dáil, Members of the 23Rd Dáil, Members of the 24Th Dáil, Members of the 25Th Dáil, Members of the 26Th Dáil, Members of the 27Th Dáil, Ministers for Justice (Ireland), Ministers for Transport (Ireland), Ministers of State of the 21St Dáil, Ministers of State of the 23Rd Dáil, Ministers of State of the 25Th Dáil, Ministers of State of the 26Th Dáil, Politicians from County Galway, Teachtaí Dála
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Máire Geoghegan-Quinn

Máire Geoghegan-Quinn
European Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science
In office
9 February 2010 – 1 November 2014
President José Manuel Barroso
Preceded by Janez Potočnik (Science and Research)
Succeeded by Carlos Moedas (Research, Science and Innovation)
Minister for Equality and Law Reform
In office
18 November 1994 – 15 December 1994
Preceded by Mervyn Taylor
Succeeded by Mervyn Taylor
Minister for Justice
In office
4 January 1993 – 15 December 1994
Preceded by Pádraig Flynn
Succeeded by Nora Owen
Minister for Tourism, Transport and Communications
In office
11 February 1992 – 12 January 1993
Preceded by Séamus Brennan
Succeeded by Charlie McCreevy
Minister for the Gaeltacht
In office
11 December 1979 – 30 June 1981
Preceded by Denis Gallagher
Succeeded by Paddy O'Toole
Personal details
Born (1950-09-05) 5 September 1950
Carna, County Galway, Ireland
Political party Fianna Fáil
Spouse(s) John Quinn
Children 2
Alma mater Our Lady of Mercy College, Carysfort
Website Official website

Máire Geoghegan-Quinn (; born 5 September 1950) is a former Irish politician. She served as European Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science from 2010 to 2014. She previously served as a Fianna Fáil Teachta Dála (TD) for the Galway West constituency from 1975 to 1997.[1] She served in a number of ministries in Ireland in the early 1980s and early 1990s.


  • Early and personal life 1
  • Political career 2
  • References 3
  • External links 4

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.

Political career

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.[2] 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 GaelLabour 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.[3] 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 was reported that she had the support of only 15 members of the 66-strong parliamentary party.[4]

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.[5] Other reports suggested that she saw her prospects for promotion under Ahern as poor,[6] and a weak showing in constituency opinion polls indicated her seat could be in danger.[7] 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 1999 she was appointed to the European Court of Auditors, replacing former TD Barry Desmond. She was appointed for a second term at the Court of Auditors in March 2006.

She was nominated by the Taoiseach Brian Cowen to become Ireland's European Commissioner in November 2009 [8] and was subsequently allocated the Research, Innovation and Science portfolio.[9]

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.[10]


  1. ^ "Mrs. Máire Geoghegan-Quinn". Oireachtas Members Database. Retrieved 13 November 2009. 
  2. ^ "Máire Geoghegan-Quinn". Retrieved 13 November 2009. 
  3. ^ David Sharrock, "New coalition likely to avert Irish poll; Finance minister looks certain to take over from Reynolds", The Guardian, 19 November 1994.
  4. ^ John Burns, "Softly, softly, says Ahern", The Sunday Times, 20 November 1994.
  5. ^ Alan Murdoch, "Media blamed as Ireland's first woman cabinet minister quits", The Independent, 28 January 1997.
  6. ^ 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.
  7. ^ John Burns and Rory Godson, "Desperately seeking candidates", The Sunday Times, 19 January 1997.
  8. ^ "Geoghegan-Quinn is Irish nominee to commission".  
  9. ^ "Barroso unveils new Commission line-up". 27 November 2009. 
  10. ^ "Sam Smyth: Ministers give up their aul' sins in bonfire of the vanities".  

External links

  • Official website
Preceded by
Johnny Geoghegan
Fianna Fáil Teachta Dála for Galway West
Succeeded by
Frank Fahey
Political offices
Preceded by
John Bruton
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Industry, Commerce and Energy
Succeeded by
as Minister of State for Consumer Affairs
Preceded by
as Parliamentary Secretary to the
Minister for Industry and Commerce
Minister of State for Consumer Affairs
Succeeded by
Ray Burke
Preceded by
Denis Gallagher
Minister for the Gaeltacht
Succeeded by
Paddy O'Toole
Preceded by
Michael Keating
Minister of State for Youth Affairs and Sport
Succeeded by
Donal Creed
New office Minister of State for the Coordination of Government Policy and EEC Matters
Succeeded by
Michael Kitt
Preceded by
Séamus Brennan
Minister for Tourism, Transport and Communications
Succeeded by
Charlie McCreevy
Preceded by
Pádraig Flynn
Minister for Justice
Succeeded by
Nora Owen
Preceded by
Mervyn Taylor
Minister for Equality and Law Reform
Succeeded by
Mervyn Taylor
Preceded by
Charlie McCreevy
Irish European Commissioner
Succeeded by
Phil Hogan
Preceded by
Janez Potočnik
as European Commissioner for Science and Research
European Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science
Succeeded by
Carlos Moedas
as European Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation
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