1952: born in Dublin.
1976: joins the business faculty at the Limerick National Institute for Higher Education, lecturing in economics.
1979: runs in local elections as a Fianna Fáil candidate, polls well but ultimately loses out.
1982: joins the Today Tonight current affairs team on RTÉ as a presenter. Leaves Fianna Fáil.
1986: joins the Progressive Democrats as general secretary after Des O’Malley splits from Fianna Fáil to form the new party.
1989: runs for a European seat in Munster as a Progressive Democrat and wins decisively. Negotiates the first Fianna Fáil coalition on behalf of the PDs, locking horns with Charles Haughey, Albert Reynolds and Bertie Ahern.
1992: wins a Dail seat in Cork South Central. O’Malley steps down as leader of the PDs and Cox is beaten by Mary Harney in the subsequent leadership race.
1994: leaves the PDs over a dispute on MEP candidates. Runs in the European Parliament elections in Munster as an independent and wins.
1998: is elected leader of the European Liberal, Democrat and Reform Party, becoming the first Irish person to lead a political grouping in the parliament.
2002: is elected president of the European Parliament, succeeding Nicole Fontaine.
2004: steps down from the European Parliament. Goes for the top job with the EU Commission but loses out to José Manuel Barroso.
2005: joins the board of Michelin, and begins sustainability transport work.
2011: becomes a member of Fine Gael. Seeks the presidential nomination for the party, but Gay Mitchell is put forward instead.
2016: joins the board of International Institute for European Affairs