Ardee native Mairead McGuinness has been confirmed as Ireland’s new EU commissioner. The news was announced by European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen yesterday morning.
Mairead will not be taking up the Trade portfolio which had been under the remit of previous EU Commisioner Phil Hogan and will instead take the Financial Services and Financial Stability and Capital Markets portfolio.
Von der Leyden spoke of McGuinness’s ‘significant political experience on EU issues’ when making the announcement.
“This experience is crucial in carrying forward the EU’s Financial Sector policy agenda, and ensuring it supports and strengthens the Commission’s key priority, notably the twin green and digital transition,” von der Leyen said.
Mairead who previously held the role of European Parliament Vice President was put forward alongside Andrew McDowell (former European Investment Bank Vice President) by the government as nominees to become Ireland’s next European Commissioner.
The job became free when now former EU Commissioner Phil Hogan was forced to resign following his attendance at the now infamous Oireachtas Golf Society dinner in Clifden, Galway last month.
Speaking from Brussels, McGuinness said: ” I want to thank President von der Leyen for the trust she is placing in me.
“The focus now is on the next steps in the European Parliament and Council.
“The financial services portfolio cuts across all policy areas. It is fundamental to European citizens, businesses, SMEs, and how the EU recovers from the Covid-19 pandemic. The EU Green Deal will require sustainable finance to drive actions across all sectors of the economy.
“As an MEP for 16 years, I have seen at first-hand how the EU is a positive force for change. I have worked to strengthen cooperation between the EU institutions and to bring them closer to people.”
“I want to thank An Taoiseach, Micheál Martin, Tánaiste Leo Varadkar and Green Party Leader Eamon Ryan for putting my name forward with Andrew McDowell, a person for whom I have great respect.
“I will now focus on preparing for the European Parliament hearing and will not be making any further comment”, McGuinness added. Fine Gael councillor Colm Markey has been co-opted into Mairead’s European seat and he will now become an MEP. The Togher man was one of four potential candidates named for the role alongside Frank Feighan, Gab McFadden and Sharon Toal.