The sitting MEP was born in Dublin, raised in Cork and represents Ireland South in Europe. She joined Sinn Féin in 2011 and has had a rapid ascent through the party’s ranks since then.
She has a background in television and media and served on the board tasked with establishing TG4 (then TnaG). She is a fluent Irish speaker and joined Sinn Féin as an Irish language officer. She was selected as a party candidate in the 2014 European Parliament elections and ran her campaign on an anti-austerity footing. She said she has Republican values but had not engaged them prior to getting involved in politics.
She married in 2012 after the death of her first husband in 1997. She has three children. At 51-years-old she is the youngest candidate in the race for the Áras.
Ms Ní Riada has demonstrated an understanding of the president's role and what her responsibilities would be if elected. Despite a short political career she has shown herself to be adept at running campaigns and secured the second highest first preference tally of any Irish candidate in the 2014 European Parliament elections.
She is a native Irish speaker.
Her campaign has been plagued by questions about whether she supports the HPV vaccine. She said she does support the vaccination but in 2016 she told her local radio station in Cork that the HSE “is in a bit of a shambles” and questioned “how much you can trust this is 100pc safe”. It came after she said she had signed a consent form for her daughter to receive the vaccine in school only to follow it up with a letter asking for it to not be administered. She said she was concerned about a lack of information from the HSE.
She stands at 33/1 with most major bookmakers.