The President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, has announced that Mairead McGuinness will become Ireland’s new European Commissioner.

She will replace Phil Hogan who resigned from the position following controversy over an Oireachtas Golf Society event he attended in Clifden, Co. Galway, and his movements around Ireland while public health restrictions relating to Covid-19 were in place.

It’s understood Mairead McGuinness will take over the Financial services, Financial stability and Capital Markets Union portfolio.

Phil Hogan had previously held the trade portfolio, but this has been given to former Latvian prime minister Valdis Dombrovskis.

President von der Leyen had requested that Ireland put forward two nominees for the role – one male and one female candidate.

McGuinness, who has served as Vice-President of the European Parliament since 2017, was put forward by the Irish government, while Andrew McDowell – former chief economic advisor to the government from 2011 to 2016 – was also nominated.

McGuinness was elected as an MEP for the north-west constituency of Ireland and was a member of the Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development in the EU parliament.

Irish government nomination

Taoiseach Micheál Martin, Tanáiste Leo Varadkar and Green Party Minister Eamon Ryan put forward their two candidates for the role last Friday (September 4).

Upon receiving the nomination, Mairead McGuinness said:

I want to thank the Taoiseach Micheál Martin, Tánaiste and leader of my party, Leo Varadkar, and leader of the Green Party, Eamon Ryan, for this expression of confidence in me.

“It’s a great honour to be nominated as a candidate for a role that is so influential in the lives of citizens and businesses across Ireland and the entire EU, as it is to serve as I do as first Vice-President of the European Parliament.

“There are many challenges facing the EU in these unprecedented times with Covid-19 being but the latest – Brexit, climate change, trade challenges are just some of the top issues.

“I will remain focused on contributing, regardless of position, to finding solutions and supporting the work of colleagues in the parliament and commission,” she added.