Máire Geoghegan-Quinn became the European Commissioner with responsibility for research, innovation and science in February 2010. As part of her specific work responsibilities, she has been appointed by the President of the European Commission Jose Manuel Barroso to draw up a research and innovation plan for the European Union by autumn of this year. Commissioner Geoghegan-Quinn also has political responsibility for the operation of the 7th EU Research and Technological Framework Programme 2007–2013, which is the largest publicly funded research programme in the world.
Between the period March 2000 and February 2010, Máire Geoghegan-Quinn served as a member of the European Court of Auditors.
Between 1975 and 1997, Máire Geoghegan-Quinn was a member of the Irish Parliament (Dáil Eireann). In 1979, she became the first woman to be appointed as a cabinet Minister since the foundation of the Irish state and she served as a Minister with responsibility for the Gaeltacht until 1981.
Between the period 1987-1991, Máire Geoghegan-Quinn served as the Irish Government Minister with responsibility for European Union affairs. She oversaw the preparation of the Irish Presidency of the European Union in 1990, which took place in the immediate aftermath of the collapse of communism in Eastern and Central Europe. During this Presidency, she was the Irish representative at meetings of the Council of Foreign Affairs Ministers. She also chaired Ministerial meetings of the Budget, Telecommunications, Culture and Development Aid Councils.
Between 1992–1993, she served as the Irish Minister with responsibility for Tourism, Transport and Telecommunications. During this period, she supported measures to open up competition in the Irish airline sector.
Between 1993–1994, she was the Irish Minister for Justice. She was one of the negotiators of the Downing Street Declaration which was signed between the Irish and the British Govenments in December 1993. This declaration paved the way to bringing peace to the island of Ireland.
Between 1997-2000, Máire Geoghegan-Quinn served as a non-executive director of both Aer Lingus and of the Ryans Hotel Group. She was a T.V presenter, a columnist in the Irish Times newspaper and she served as a part time business consultant.
She is a former member of the Governing Authority of the National University of Ireland Galway.
In 1996, she authored a book entitled 'The Green Diamond'.
Prior to entering politics in Ireland in 1975, Máire Geoghegan-Quinn qualified and worked as a primary school teacher.