Mary Ann O'Brien

Mary Ann O'Brien
In office
May 2011  April 2016
Constituency Nominated by the Taoiseach
Personal details
Born (1960-09-08) 8 September 1960
County Waterford, Ireland
Nationality Irish
Political party Renua Ireland (since March 2015)
Other political
Spouse(s) Jonathan Irwin (since 1991)
Children Three sons (two deceased); two daughters

Mary Ann O'Brien (born 8 September 1960) is an Irish businesswoman and politician.[1] She is the founder and chairman of Lily O'Brien's Chocolates[2] and in 1997, she founded the Jack and Jill Foundation with her husband Jonathan Irwin, to provide home health care to severely sick babies. It was set up as a direct response to their experience of caring at home for their son Jack, born with severe brain damage in 1996.

In May 2011, she was nominated by the Taoiseach Enda Kenny to the 24th Seanad.[3][4]

At the launch of Renua Ireland in March 2015, O'Brien was announced as a party candidate.[5] The Sunday Times and the Irish Daily Mail reported that she was not a party member.[6] O'Brien clarified that she would remain independent while a Senator and join Renua to stand at the 2016 general election.[7]


  1. "Ms. Mary Ann O'Brien". Oireachtas Members Database. Retrieved 4 June 2011.
  2. "About us". Lily O'Brien's. Retrieved 4 June 2011.
  3. Edwards, Elaine (20 May 2011). "McAleese appointed to Seanad". The Irish Times.
  4. "Mary Ann O'Brien". Retrieved 20 November 2011.
  5. O'Connell, Hugh (13 March 2015). "Here's everything we know about Renua Ireland (and its policies)". Retrieved 21 May 2015.
  6. "A Renua senator? Me? I'm not even a member!". Irish Daily Mail. 14 March 2015.
  7. "Kildare Senator To Join Renua Ireland.". Kfm. 14 March 2015. Retrieved 21 May 2015.

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