Mairead McGuinness is Ireland’s new EU Commissioner, having been named as Phil Hogan’s successor on Tuesday morning by European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.
She has been handed the Financial Services, Financial Stability and Capital Markets Union brief, after, as expected, Ireland lost the trade portfolio.
“Both candidates showed great commitment to the European Union and to the function of Commissioner. I have decided to proposed to the council and the European Parliament Mrs McGuinness to the post of Commissioner. She will be in charge of Financial Services, Financial Stability and Capital Markets Union,” von der Leyen said.
“Mrs McGuinness has significant political experience on EU issues. This experience is crucial in carrying forward the EU’s financial sector policy agenda.”
On Friday, McGuinness, a European Parliament First Vice-President, and former European Investment Bank vice-president Andrew McDowell were the two names put forward by government as nominees to be Ireland’s next European Commissioner.
The vacancy arose following Phil Hogan’s resignation after controversy over his movements while in Ireland and his attendance at an Oireachtas Golf Society event in Clifden, Galway last month.
Last weekend, Ardee woman McGuiness confirmed her interest in the role and she was considered the clear favourite by many to take the post. Both candidates were interviewed by Ursula von der Leyen on Monday. She will be replaced in the European Parliament by Fine Gael councillor Colm Markey.
McGuinness was seen as a viable candidate given her knowledge of and experience in Brussels, as well as her own personal background in agriculture, which was seen as a likely brief should President Ursula von der Leyen decide on a reshuffle. However, she has been handed the financial services brief with Ireland losing the much sought after trade portfolio in a reshuffle.
McGuinness is currently a Fine Gael MEP representing the Midlands North West and First Vice-President of the European Parliament. She has been an MEP for six years and a Vice-President of the EPP for almost four years.
She is a perennial favourite of the bookmakers when it comes to betting markets for the next President of Ireland, for which she is currently the favourite, priced at 9/2.
“I first met Mairead in 2004 when she was first running for the European Parliament, but I have worked closely with her since my election to Louth County Council in 2014 and subsequently the Seanad this year,” Fine Gael Senator John McGahon said today.
“Mairead has been an outstanding MEP and has represented Ireland exceptionally well on the European and International stage. I have absolutely no doubt that Mairead will play a vital role in the Commission.”
Congratulations to @MaireadMcGMEP. An excellent appointment for Ireland in an excellent portfolio. And thanks to Andrew McDowell for putting his name forward, another great candidate. Ireland is fortunate to have people of this calibre representing us at European level
— Leo Varadkar (@LeoVaradkar) September 8, 2020