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2018 Máire Anne Geoghegan-Quinn

  • One of Ireland’s most successful politicians Máire Anne Geoghegan-Quinn has had a distinguished career in politics and has played a leading role in placing research and innovation centre stage in Europe.


  • Maire began her political career in 1975, becoming a Fianna Fáil TD for Galway West.


  • She was appointed Minister for Gaeltacht in 1979. Importantly, she was the first female cabinet level Minister since Constance Markievicz.


  • Subsequently she held Ministerial office in the Departments of Tourism and Sport, and the Department of An Taoiseach.


  • One of her contributions to Irish life came when Marie was appointed Minister for Justice in 1992. She spearheaded the passage of the Act that decriminalised homosexuality in 1993 (which is 25 years ago this year). Reflecting on the implications of that vote she has said that it was the “end of the beginning” for a societal shift that would usher in a very different Ireland.


  • After a distinguished 22 year career in the Dail she retired from domestic politics at the 1997 General Election.


  • However, Maire was not one to retire from public life, as this time marked the beginning of her European career. Marie was appointed by the Irish Government as a member of the European Court of Auditors in 2000, serving for 10 years. The work of the European Court of Auditors involves improving the EU’s accountability towards citizens for the use of public funds.


  • Maire was then appointed by the Irish Government as Ireland’s European Commissioner in February 2010. She was allocated the role as Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science and she served in this role until November 2014. Her stated goal was to push research and innovation further up the political agenda, and to direct research funding towards important challenges in policy areas. Her success in achieving these goals are clear. Today, research and innovation are at the heart of the Europe 2020 strategy, and EU leaders set the Europe 2020 Research & Development investment target at 3%.


  • In 2014 in recognition of her remarkable contribution to the European project she was awarded the French Legion d’Honneur by the French Government.


  • More recently, in July 2015, she was appointed to chair an independent panel to examine gender equality in Irish 3rd level education. The proposals of that expert group continue to have significant implications for third-level institutions.


  • And in April 2018 in recognition of her extensive national and international experience she was appointed to the Board of Science Foundation Ireland. On announcing the appointment Minister John Halligan said Máire brings a wealth of experience and international insight to the Board of Science Foundation Ireland which will assist in delivering the goals to make Ireland a global innovation leader.


  • For her significant contributions to business and the wider community of current and future scientists in Ireland and beyond, it gives us great pleasure to present Maire Geoghean Quinn with the Irish Academy of Management TK Whitaker Award 2018.

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