Máire Geoghegan-Quinn graduated in teaching in 1970 and worked as a teacher from 1970 to 1975.
Her parliamentary career began in 1975 when she was elected as a member of Dáil Éireann for Irish political party Fianna Fáil in the Galway Constituency, and remained in the Dáil Éireann till 1997.
Ms. Geoghegan-Quinn has served as Minister of State in the department of Commerce from 1977 to 1979 and as Minister for the Gaeltacht from 1979 to 1981 as the 1st woman cabinet minister since the foundation of the state. She also served as Minister of state in the department of education in 1982.
In 1987 Ms. Geoghegan-Quinn was appointed Minister for European Affairs and served until 1991. During her time as Minister she chaired the inter-departmental committee on EU policy with responsibility for co-ordinating Ireland's EU Presidency in 1990. In 1992 she served as Minister for Tourism, Transport and Communications.
From 1993 to 1994 she served as Minister for Justice and was a member of the Irish Government team which negotiated the Joint Declaration of December 1993, by the British and Irish Governments, on Peace and Reconciliation in Ireland.
Ms. Geoghegan-Quinn served as a member of the European Court of Auditors. In 2010 she assumed her current position as European Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science.