Mairead McGuinness, Fine Gael MEP for Ireland East, serves on the European Parliamentâs Agriculture and Rural Development Committee and the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety.
She chaired the European Parliament Committee of Inquiry into the demise of Equitable Life, where thousands of pensioners lost out on their investments.
A member of Inter-Party Groups on Disability and Childrenâs Rights, she also serves on the European Parliament’s Delegations for relations with Australia and New Zealand, the Delegation for relations with the People’s Republic of China.
Mairead is very active on agriculture and rural development, global development policy, the environment and food safety and security. The specific issues she champions at EU level range from, the need for the EU to ensure security of food supply, double standards on food imports to global trade issues under the WTO.
She has also worked to raise the plight of children, especially those with a disability in orphanages in Romania and Bulgaria â two of the newer accession states of the EU.
Within Ireland her priorities have included more balanced regional and local development, food labelling, vocational and other educational programmes, particularly at community level, transport and equal opportunities for people with disabilities, carers and older people.
She regularly travels throughout the constituency of Ireland East, 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 Mairead topped the poll with one in every four votes cast in the Ireland East constituency. She was re-elected in June 2009 with another poll-topping result and was the only candidate in Ireland to be elected on the first count. Magill Magazine voted her MEP of the Year in 2006 for, according to the magazine: “Putting in a consistently strong performance in a new and challenging role in Europe.”
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. The aptly named programme focused on local, national and European policies and how they were likely to affect the daily lives of individuals throughout the length and breadth of the country. Issues were examined forensically, brought to their essential core and communicated, always with the consumerâs best interest at heart.
Mairead is a former Chairperson of the Consumer Liaison Panel of the Department of Agriculture and Food. Â Married to Tom Duff the couple have four children, twins Orlaith and James, Ăine and Cathal.