Mary Harney

Independent Director and Business Adviser

Having retired from politics in 2011, former Tánaiste Mary Harney completely re-imagined her career. Mary is now the director of a number of private companies in pharmaceutical, healthcare, technology and financial services sectors. She provides business advisory services to a range of companies and organizations. She also undertakes speaking engagements, particularly in a business context.

Mary is Chancellor of the University of Limerick Biocon, Asia’s largest biopharmaceutical plc with its HQ in Bangalore, India. She is Chair of Pharmed Ltd., a Healthcare service provider in Ireland and the UK and is a Director at Diona Technology, an Irish headquartered technology company developing mobility solutions for the Social Security and Services IT market as well as serving as a member of Public Interest Committee of KPMG Ireland. She also holds Directorship at Health Beacon Ltd., an Irish and US based Medication Adherence Technology company and at the University of Limerick Foundation.

Mary Harney studied economics at Trinity College Dublin and was the first woman Auditor of the “Hist” debating society. In 1977, her political career began when she was appointed to the Senate, becoming the youngest ever member of the Senate in Ireland. She continued to make history throughout her 34-year long career in politics. Her work in environmental protection led to major improvement in the air quality in Dublin city – she tackled the problem of smog in the capital by making Dublin a smokeless fuel city. By founding the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) she led a unified response among all 31 local authorities in their responsibility towards licensing and monitoring environmental standards. She established the first recycling initiative in the country.

Mary established an independent standards and quality authority (HIQA) to provide an independent inspector of the delivery of health services in Ireland. She led the reform of cancer services by consolidating them to 8 specialist centers and introduced, for the first time, a lay majority on the boards of the Medical Council and of the Pharmaceutical Society.

Mary won a number of awards as employment minister and for promoting science and innovation. She was President of the EU Council of Ministers. Mary is currently a Member of International Women’s Forum and was twice selected as Woman of the Year in Ireland. She was awarded an honorary doctorate from Trinity College Dublin in recognition of her contributions as Minister to science and innovation.