Mairead McGuinness was first elected to the European Parliament in 2004. Now in her 3rd term, Mairead represents the Midlands and North-West region of Ireland. Her work in the European Parliament has been acknowledged by her European counterparts by her election as Vice-President.
Appointed the role of Children’s Rights Mediator, she plays a leading role in the area of children’s rights as the Parliament’s mediator in cases of international parental child abduction.
Mairead is a full member of the Agriculture & Rural Development/AGRI, and a substitute on Environment, Public Health & Food Safety/ENVI.
Mairead is a native of Ardee, Co. Louth, from a strong Fine Gael family. Married to Tom Duff, they have four children. They live near Drumconrath, Co. Meath.
Mairead was educated locally at the Convent of Mercy National School and Ardee Community School. She studied Agricultural Economics at UCD, the first woman to qualify in the discipline. She is remembered for her very lively contributions to the Agricultural Society, especially in her capacity as imaginative and creative recording secretary.
She began her career in journalism in RTÉ immediately after college. She worked initially as radio producer and later in research on the Late Late Show. In recent times Mairead became well known as a presenter and key driving force behind the highly successful Ear to the Ground series.
In print journalism she was the highly respected editor of the Farming Independent for seven years. Leading a strong team, she positioned this paper as the major independent voice in the agricultural sector.
Mairead served two terms as Chairperson of the Guild of Agricultural Journalists and successfully developed the guild as an important network for those in food and farming communications.
Mairead also chaired the Consumer Liaison panel set up by the Minister for Agriculture and Food. This panel spearheaded important changes in food labelling and traceability, initiatives which Mairead has continued to champion as a Member of the European Parliament’s Agriculture and Rural Development Committee.
She was voted by her colleagues as MEP of the Year for Agriculture in 2011. In 2014 she was awarded the UCD Foundation Day Alumni Award in Agriculture and Food Science.