Mairead McGuinness, Fine Gael MEP for Midlands, North-West, is Vice-President of the European Parliament and serves on the European Parliamentâ€™s Agriculture and Rural Development Committee and the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety.
As Vice-President Mairead chairs sessions of Parliament and oversees the Parliament’s Communications. She also has responsibilities for the Parliament’s scientific research body STOA and she plays a leading role in the area of children’s rights as a Mediator in cases of international parental child abduction on behalf of the European Parliament.
She serves on the European Parliamentâ€™s Delegation for Relations with the countries of South Asia and is Vice-Chair of the Delegation to the EU-Montenegro Stabilisation and Association Parliamentary Committee.
She chaired the European Parliament Committee of Inquiry into the demise of Equitable Life, where thousands of pensioners lost out on their investments.
Mairead is very active on agriculture and rural development, global development policy, the environment and food safety and security, taking a particular interest in food security, protecting EU food safety and traceability standards in trade agreements.
A member of inter-party groups on disability and childrenâ€™s rights, she has worked to improve the lives of children, especially those with a disability in orphanages with the aim of de-institutionalizing care and moving towards family and community based care.
Within Ireland her priorities include more balanced regional and local development, sustainable food production, food labelling, vocational and other educational opportunities particularly at community level, transport and equal opportunities for people with disabilities, carers and older people.
She is active throughout the constituency of Midlands North-West, meeting as many people as possible in schools, community groups and various other forums to engage with them on the EU, how it works and what it stands for.
Elected as an MEP in June 2004, she was re-elected in June 2009 and again in May 2014. In 2011 she was voted MEP of the Year for Agriculture by her colleagues.
Prior to becoming an MEP she was a well-known journalist, broadcaster and commentator. She presented the very successful, Ear to the Ground series on RTĂ‰ television, which focused on local, national and European policies.
Mairead is a former Chairperson of Guild of Agricultural Journalists and of the Consumer Liaison Panel of the Department of Agriculture and Food. Mairead is married to Tom Duff and they have four children.