Mairéad McGuinness has revealed she suffered a bereavement on the day she became an EU Commissioner.
Appearing on the Six-One News, she said: “Sadly my mother-in-law passed away this morning.”
She told RTÉ news anchor Caitríona Perry: “So we're a little bit, you know, like other families bereaved during Covid, I think we're just feeling the effects of that.”
Responding to Ms Perry’s condolences, the new Commissioner said: “Thank you for your kindness.”
Ms McGuinness will take up the Irish chair at the policy-guiding Commission in Brussels – which has been left empty since Phil Hogan’s abrupt exit on August 26 – after the European Parliament meeting in full session voted for her, and one other change to the Commission team, by a huge margin of 583 votes in favour and just 75 against.
The former Irish Independent journalist, who has been an MEP since 2004, impressed at a ratification hearing held by her former parliament colleagues in Brussels last Friday.
Endorsing the other part of the Commission re-shuffle, the MEPs also approved Commission Vice President Valdis Dombrovskis adding trade to his existing economy portfolio.
The former Latvian prime minister follows in the footsteps of the former Irish Commissioner, Phil Hogan, who was rated as one of the Brussels heavy-hitters and the trade position is ranked among the most powerful in the EU capital.