Meet Barry Andrews

Former Minister, CEO of Goal, Director General of the IIEA - and now Fianna Fáil's Dublin MEP to the European Parliament.

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Pictured: Barry Andrews signing a pledge in support of equality for workers at the European Parliament in March.

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Background

Barry has lived all his life in Dublin. He is married to Sinead and they have two boys and a girl. Like many another parent, he coaches an underage soccer team for his local club, Granada AFC and he plays an active part in his community.

Barry went to school in Blackrock College and studied History and Politics in UCD, graduating with a Masters in Modern History in 1990.

Over the last thirty years, Barry’s working life has been devoted to public service. His first job was teaching in Ballyfermot Senior College where he saw the power of education in bringing opportunity to the lives of young people. He went on to teach in Sutton Park School and Bruce College. While a teacher, he studied law part-time, qualifying as a barrister in 1997. As a lawyer, he specialised in child protection law, dealing with vulnerable children and unaccompanied minors seeking asylum.

Political Career

He had always been attracted to the world of politics and in June 1999, he contested his first election when he ran for a seat on Dún Laoghaire Rathdown County Council. He topped the poll and soon progressed to national politics following his election to the Dáil in the 2002 general election.

Socially progressive, liberal

As a TD, Barry was an early supporter for the legal recognition of the rights of same sex couples and was among those who argued in favour of gay marriage as a member of the All Party Committee on the Constitution in the early noughties. He was a regular contributor to debates on human rights issues at home and abroad and an ardent advocate for children’s and women's rights.

Minister for Children & Youth Affairs

In May 2008, Barry was appointed as Minister for Children and Youth Affairs. Within a year of his appointment and at the height of the financial crisis, he introduced the first ever free pre-school year, an innovation in early childhood education that has benefitted over 800,000 children in the last decade. He also led the government’s response to the biggest child protection crises in the history of the State.

Expertise in international affairs and development

Throughout his political career, Barry has always had a keen interest in international affairs and development issues. It is no surprise then that his work over the last 8 years has been devoted to these related areas.

International affairs

As CEO of GOAL, Ireland’s leading humanitarian agency, he led the charity’s response to the Syrian civil war, the Ebola outbreak in West Africa and many other humanitarian crises. During his time as CEO, the work of GOAL grew substantially and annual turnover increased from €60m to €180m.



For the last two years, Barry has served as Director General of the Institute of International and European Affairs, Ireland’s leading think tank on European policy. Under his leadership, the IIEA has broadened its membership to reflect important sectors of Irish life and has provided a platform for a wide range of experts to inform public debate on Brexit. He set up the IIEA’s Brexit Hub.

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