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Political Biography


Served on Kilkenny County and Borough Councils. 

John served for many years on Kilkenny Borough Council with his late father Mick McGuinness and they made history being the only father and son team to be elected to a council in Ireland.


Mayor of Kilkenny in 1996. First elected to Dáil Eireann in 1997. Was elected again in 2002 and topped the poll in 2007. Was Minister for Trade and Commerce from 2007 to 2009. Elected again in 2011, 2016 and 2020.


John is currently the Chairman of the Committee on Finance, Public Expenditure and Reform, and Taoiseach. He previously served as Chairman of the Dail's Public Accounts Committee.


John is the author of the book ‘The House Always Wins’ which gives an insider’s account of dysfunction and waste in the Irish political and administrative system.


In his book, McGuinness brings his extensive knowledge of the system to bear as he describes how limited and circumscribed are the powers of the Minister, and how difficult it now is for politicians at any level to make a difference. The system, he argues, is rigged against initiative and reform, thus the title of the book. The House Always Wins is not an assault on the public service. It is a passionate cry for the reform we so badly need in the way the country is run by politicians and the public service; and it is a demand that they, and the trade unions, confront the challenges of creating a better Ireland.


As John Drennan of the Sunday Independent stated, ‘Mr McGuinness is increasingly seen by many as a capable and courageous man who stood up to the party leadership and the civil services mandarins before public confidence in the political system collapsed’. 

Member of Kilkenny Corporation 1979 - 2003


Kilkenny County Council 1991 - 2003


Kilkenny City Mayor 1996 - 1997


Elected to Dáil Éireann 1997, 2002, 2007, 2011, 2016 & 2020


Member of the Joint Oireachtas Committees for European Affairs, Enterprise and Small Business, Justice, and Women’s Rights 1997 - 2002


Vice-chairperson of the Public Accounts Committee 2002 - 2007


Minister for Trade and Commerce 2007 to 2009


Chairman of the Dáil’s Public Accounts Committee. 2011 - 2016



Chairman of  the Committee on Finance, Public Expenditure and Reform, and Taoiseach 2016 - Present 


Courage, Commitment, Care

A politician who cares, and fights for what he cares about, John McGuinness puts as much energy into his constituency as he does into his work as a legislator in the Dail. 

"All politics is local, and community is very important" he says "What I learn from the people in my constituency enormously informs what I do as a legislator. Anyone looking at my record in the Dail or in my constituency will see that I put my life and soul into what I do. That is what you have to do in politics, and sometimes it is not easy, or popular” 

In recent times John was one of two or three politicians in the Dail who successful fought to get Maurice McCabes story heard. And, as Chairman of the Finance Committee, he was in the forefront of those seeking justice for tracker mortgage holders and those fighting for their families against the banks. 

Hugely experienced, resolute and straight talking, John McGuinness is there to help those he represents in any way he can. Locally and nationally, he is formidable advocate and a strong voice for the rights and freedoms of the people he serves. 

John's mobile phone number is public property and he runs clinics throughout the constituency on a regular, organised basis, including one in his office in Kilkenny every Saturday. That office is open six days a week, and Sandra and Catherine are there to help you with advice and assistance. 

On your side, John McGuinness will advise you, stand up for you and go hard miles for you.


That’s a promise

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