Michelle attended Breaffy National School and St. Mary’s Secondary School Ballina. She studied law at University College Dublin and trained as a Solicitor with the Law Society of Ireland and practiced in her native Ballina.
Michelle was first elected in 1999 to Ballina Town Council and to Mayo County Council in 2004 topping the poll as a Town Councillor and County Councillor in the 2009 Local Elections. Michelle was the first female Councillor for Fine Gael elected to Ballina Town Council, to Mayo County Council and to Dáil Eireann in Mayo. She held the office of Mayor of Ballina for 2008/2009. Michelle contested the 2011 General Election for the Mayo Constituency and took her seat in the 31st Dáil in March 2011. She contested the 2007 Dáil and Seanad elections unsuccessfully.
Michelle is a member of the Joint Oireachtas Committees for Public Service Oversight and Petitions and for the Environment, Culture and the Gaeltacht. She is Chair of the Fine Gael Internal Committee for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources. She is also a member of AWEPA.
Michelle is Chairperson of Ballina Arts Centre and Theatre. As a strong supporter of the arts Michelle has taken part in many of the productions staged in Ballina, her most memorable was Kate in Dancing at Lughnasa. She enjoys music and Johnny Cash is one of her favourite artists.
Prior to her election to Dáil Eireann Michelle was a member of the following:
· European Union Committee of the Regions
· Mayo County Development Board
· Board of Mayo Energy Agency
· Board of Mayo North East LEADER Partnership Company
· Board of Fr. Patrick Peyton Centre
· Mayo Solicitors’ Bar Association.
While serving as Chair of Mayo County Council’s Planning and Development Strategic Policy Committee she spearheaded the development of the Renewable Energy Strategy for the County. She was a previous Chair of the Roads and Transport Strategic Policy Committee.
Her political heroes include former President of Ireland Mary Robinson, Michael Collins, Nelson Mandela and Martin Luther King.