John McGuinness (politician)

John James McGuinness (born 15 March 1955) is an Irish Fianna Fáil politician who has been a Teachta Dála (TD) for the Carlow–Kilkenny constituency since the 1997 general election. He was appointed Chair of the Committee on Finance, Public Expenditure and Reform in April 2016. He previously served as Chair of the Public Accounts Committee from 2011 to 2016 and Minister of State for Trade and Commerce from 2007 to 2009.[1]

John McGuinness

Chair of the Committee on Finance, Public Expenditure and Reform
Assumed office
4 April 2016
Preceded byCiarán Lynch
Chair of the Public Accounts Committee
In office
10 March 2011  4 April 2016
Preceded byBernard Allen
Succeeded bySeán Fleming
Minister of State for Trade and Commerce
In office
20 June 2007  22 April 2009
TaoiseachBertie Ahern
Brian Cowen
Preceded byMichael Ahern
Succeeded byBilly Kelleher
Teachta Dála
Assumed office
June 1997
Personal details
John James McGuinness

(1955-03-15) 15 March 1955
Kilkenny, Ireland
Political partyFianna Fáil
Spouse(s)Margaret Redmond (m. 1991)
Alma materUniversity College Cork

Personal life

McGuinness was born in Kilkenny and educated in Kilkenny Christian Brothers Secondary School. He holds a Diploma in Business Management. He is married to Margaret Redmond and they have three sons and one daughter. His eldest son Andrew is a Fianna Fáil County Councillor on Kilkenny County Council and served as Mayor from 2014 to 2015.

Political career

He first entered local politics in 1979 when he won a seat on Kilkenny Borough Council and was a subsequent Mayor of the city from 1996 to 1997.[2] He was the third generation of his family to serve on this council. From 1991 until the abolition of the dual mandate in 2003, he was also member of Kilkenny County Council, where his father, Michael McGuinness, was the longest-serving councillor (1959–99).[3]

He was first elected to Dáil Éireann as a Fianna Fáil TD for the Carlow–Kilkenny constituency at the 1997 general election.[4] He was vice-chairperson of the Public Accounts Committee in the 29th Dáil and a member of the Joint Oireachtas Committees for European Affairs, Enterprise and Small Business, Justice, and Women's Rights in the 28th Dáil. In 2007, he was appointed as Minister of State at the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment for Trade and Commerce. He has subsequently revealed a testy relationship with his senior minister Mary Coughlan, and considerable disagreement with policy in the department.[5]

On 22 April 2009, as part of cost-cutting measures due to the Irish financial crisis, the Taoiseach Brian Cowen reduced the number of Ministers of State from 20 to 15. McGuinness was among the seven junior ministers who were not reappointed. On 24 April 2009, he criticised Coughlan and Cowen for their lack of leadership being given to the country. He said: "She's not equipped to deal with the complex issues of dealing with enterprise and business within the department. And neither is the department".[6][7] McGuinness' later rejected suggestions he campaigned to undermine Coughlan, when it was revealed that he had hired external PR advice in an effort to enhance his own profile as a Minister of State within the Department.[8]

In 2010, a political memoir that he co-wrote with Naoise Nunn, called The House Always Wins, was published by Gill & Macmillan.[9][10]

He is the Fianna Fáil spokesperson on Small Business and Regulatory Framework since April 2011.

McGuinness was appointed as Chair of the Finance, Public Expenditure and Reform, and Taoiseach Committee on 14 June 2016.


  1. "John McGuinness". Oireachtas Members Database. Retrieved 1 October 2009.
  2. Nealon's Guide to the 30th Dáil & 23rd Seanad, Ed. Stephen Collins, Dublin, 2007
  3. "Glowing tributes paid to deceased stalwart of SEHB and council". Carlow Nationalist. 10 April 2003. Archived from the original on 23 June 2008. Retrieved 11 January 2008.
  4. "John McGuinness". Retrieved 1 October 2009.
  5. Brennan, Michael (24 April 2009). "Dumped junior minister: we're lacking leaders in Government". Irish Independent.
  6. "McGuinness criticises lack of leadership from Cowen and Coughlan". The Irish Times. 25 April 2009. Retrieved 1 October 2009.
  7. Sheahan, Fionnan; McDonald, Brian; Guidera, Anita (25 April 2009). "Coughlan embroiled in storm on sackings". Irish Independent. Archived from the original on 17 February 2013. Retrieved 1 October 2009.
  8. "McGuinness Tánaiste row rumbles on". Sunday Business Post. 3 May 2009. Retrieved 1 October 2009.
  9. "The House Always Wins". Gill & Macmillan. 9 January 2011. Archived from the original on 25 December 2010.
  10. John Drennan (7 November 2010). "The party's over for FF - even with no election". Irish Independent. Retrieved 9 January 2011.
Preceded by
M. J. Nolan
(Fianna Fáil)
Fianna Fáil Teachta Dála for Carlow–Kilkenny
Political offices
Preceded by
Michael Ahern
Minister of State for Trade and Commerce
Succeeded by
Billy Kelleher
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