Mairead McGuinness has had a long and varied career. 

A native of Ardee, Co Louth she was the first woman to qualify with a Bachelor of Science degree in Agriculture Economics from University College Dublin in 1980.

Journalism was her initial calling and she began her career in RTÉ, initially as a radio producer and later a researcher on the Late Late Show. 

She later became a presenter on Ear to the Ground and hosted the reality TV show, Celebrity Farm. 

Mairead McGuinness presenting Ear to the Ground on RTÉ

The mother-of-four also worked as a journalist with the Irish Farmers Journal and was editor of the Irish Independent's farming supplement.

In 2004, she turned to politics, announcing her intention to run as a Fine Gael candidate in the European parliament elections.

The move was controversial at the time because she was running alongside sitting Fine Gael MEP Avril Doyle in what had traditionally been a one-seat constituency for the party.

Both women were elected with Ms McGuinness topping the poll.

We need your consent to load this rte-player contentWe use rte-player to manage extra content that can set cookies on your device and collect data about your activity. Please review their details and accept them to load the content.Manage Preferences

However, she was not as successful in her bid for the Dáil in 2007, failing to win a seat in Louth.

Four years later in 2011 she set her sights on Áras an Uachtaráin, but she lost out on the party nomination to Gay Mitchell. 

In 2014 she was elected a vice-president of the European Parliament, one of fourteen.

Mairead McGuinness at the 2014 Euro election count

Three years later she was elected first Vice-President of the European Parliament and was re-elected to the post in July 2019, a post she has remained in since.

She was one of two candidates put forward by the Irish Government after the President of the European Commission requested the names of a woman and a man to be considered for the next Irish Commissioner. 

Mairead McGuinness in her vice president role in the parliament

This morning, Ursula Van Der Leyen announced that Mairead McGuinness had been chosen to be the Commissioner in charge of financial services and financial stability.