Alan Kelly (politician)

Alan Kelly (born 13 July 1975) is an Irish Labour Party politician who has been a Teachta Dála (TD) for the Tipperary constituency since the 2016 general election. He previously served as Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government and Deputy leader of the Labour Party from 2014 to 2016 and Minister of State for Public and Commuter Transport from 2011 to 2014. He was a Member of the European Parliament for the South constituency from 2009 to 2011 and a Senator for the Agricultural Panel from 2007 to 2009.[2]

Alan Kelly

Deputy Leader of the Labour Party
In office
4 July 2014  20 May 2016
LeaderJoan Burton
Preceded byJoan Burton
Succeeded byOffice not in use
Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government
In office
11 July 2014  6 May 2016
TaoiseachEnda Kenny
Preceded byPhil Hogan
Succeeded byOffice abolished
Minister of State for Public and Commuter Transport
In office
10 March 2011  11 July 2014
TaoiseachEnda Kenny
Preceded byNew office
Succeeded byOffice abolished
Teachta Dála
Assumed office
February 2016
In office
February 2011  February 2016
ConstituencyTipperary North
Member of the European Parliament
In office
1 July 2009  9 March 2011
In office
24 July 2007  8 June 2009
ConstituencyAgricultural Panel
Personal details
Alan Thomas Kelly[1]

(1975-07-13) 13 July 1975
Portroe, County Tipperary, Ireland
Political partyLabour Party
Spouse(s)Regina O'Connor (m. 2007)
EducationNenagh CBS
Alma mater

Early and private life

Kelly is from Portroe just outside Nenagh, County Tipperary. He is the son of Tom and Nan Kelly. Educated at Nenagh CBS, he subsequently attended University College Cork (UCC), where he completed a BA in English and History in 1995. Two years later he completed a M.Phil in Political History. Kelly continued his education at Boston College, where he achieved a Certificate in Leadership in 1999. He returned to Ireland shortly after this and completed a MBS in eCommerce in 2002. Kelly subsequently worked as an eBusiness Manager with Bord Fáilte and Fáilte Ireland.

Kelly is married to Regina O'Connor, a primary school teacher who was raised in Waterville, County Kerry. The couple have two children; a daughter and a son.

Youth politics

Kelly is thought to have been politicised from an early age. In his final year of secondary school, he canvassed for the Labour Party during the 1992 general election. He remained active in left-wing politics in university, firstly by establishing the Jim Kemmy Branch of the Labour Party in UCC. He then became involved in a number of by-elections, local election campaigns in Cork and in the wider Munster area.

Kelly became Chair of Labour Youth in 2000, having previously served as Co-Chair.

Seanad Éireann: 2007–2009

In 2007, Kelly launched his own political career when he secured election to Seanad Éireann by the Agricultural Panel. He was the only Labour Party candidate in that grouping.[3] After the election of Eamon Gilmore as leader of the Labour Party in 2007, Kelly was appointed as Labour Party Spokesperson on Tourism and was Seanad Spokesperson on Finance and Local Government.

European Parliament: 2009–2011

Kelly was elected as a Member of the European Parliament for the South constituency, at the 2009 European Parliament election, taking the last seat in a tight battle between him, Sinn Féin's Toireasa Ferris and the Independent Kathy Sinnott.[4][5] Kelly was a member of the European Parliament's Committee on Internal Market and Consumer Protection.

Dáil Éireann: 2011–present

Though he promised he would see out his five-year term in the European Parliament, Kelly allowed his name to go forward as a Labour Party candidate at the 2011 general election. He ran in the Tipperary North constituency and was successful, receiving 9,559 first preference votes (19.8%) and securing the third and final seat at the expense of Fianna Fáil's sitting TD, Máire Hoctor. Phil Prendergast replaced him as MEP for the South constituency.

When the new coalition government was formed Kelly joined the junior ministerial ranks as Minister of State for Public and Commuter Transport.[6]

In May 2014, Kelly confirmed that he would be contesting the vote for a new deputy leader of the Labour Party following the resignation of Eamon Gilmore as party leader.[7]

He was elected as deputy leader of the Labour Party on 4 July 2014.[8] On 11 July 2014, he was appointed Minister of the Environment, Community and Local Government.[9]

In January 2015, it was announced that his leader Joan Burton had nominated Kelly for the roles of Labour's director of elections and chair of Labour's national campaign committee ahead of the upcoming general election.[10]

Following the election, Kelly remained Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government in an acting capacity during prolonged talks on government formation. On Sunday 24 April 2016, he represented the government at the official U.S. commemoration of the Centenary of the Easter Rising in Manhattan, New York.

Shortly afterward, on Friday 13 May 2016, Kelly announced his intention to seek leadership of the Labour Party.[11] He then failed to attract a nomination from his parliamentary colleagues, resulting in the unopposed appointment of Brendan Howlin as the new leader.[12] Grassroots efforts to put pressure on members of the parliamentary party were unsuccessful. The parliamentary party also decided not to nominate any candidates for the position of deputy leader, leaving Kelly's previous position vacant.

In September 2017, Kelly called for the HPV vaccine to be given to all schoolboys in Ireland. The vaccine's roll-out among Irish girls had recently been subject to news coverage following controversy over its alleged side effects.[13]

In August 2018, Kelly tried to challenge incumbent Brendan Howlin for his party's leadership.[14] His challenge failed due to lack of support from his parliamentary colleagues.[15]


  1. Downing, John (21 May 2016). "New Labour leader Howlin has thunder stolen by rival Kelly: Alan Kelly's 'petulant' absence from press conference raises eyebrows, writes John Downing". Irish Independent. At lunchtime yesterday, this strange process meant that Brendan Howlin was the last man standing. His colleagues - bar one Alan Thomas Kelly - accompanied him to meet the awaiting political journalists.
  2. "Alan Kelly". Oireachtas Members Database. Retrieved 18 February 2008.
  3. "Alan Kelly". Retrieved 2 April 2009.
  4. Riegel, Ralph (9 June 2009). "Labour's Kelly fights off late Sinnott surge". Irish Independent. Archived from the original on 10 June 2009.
  5. "Alan Kelly". European Parliament. Retrieved 26 January 2012.
  6. "Kenny breaks election pledge by not cutting junior ministers". Irish Examiner. 11 March 2011.
  7. O'Connor, Niall (29 May 2014). "Three Labour TDs have said they are interested in being the deputy leader of the party". Irish Independent.
  8. "Need to govern with more heart, says Joan Burton". RTÉ News. 4 July 2014.
  9. "Live: Cabinet reshuffle". RTÉ News. 11 July 2014.
  10. Kelly, Fiach (14 January 2015). "Joan Burton appoints Alan Kelly as election chief: Labour deputy leader will chair national campaign committee for next general election". The Irish Times.
  11. Alan Kelly to run for Labour Party leadership
  12. Sarah Bardon (21 May 2016). "Brendan Howlin chosen to be new Labour leader". The Irish Times. Retrieved 21 May 2016.
  14. "Labour's Brendan Howlin dismisses Alan Kelly's challenge to his leadership". The Irish Times. 31 August 2018. Retrieved 5 September 2018.
  15. "Alan Kelly isolated by colleagues over Labour leadership coup". Irish Independent. 1 September 2018.
European Parliament
Preceded by
Kathy Sinnott
Member of the European Parliament
for South

Succeeded by
Phil Prendergast
Labour Party
Preceded by
Máire Hoctor
Fianna Fáil
Labour Party Teachta Dála
for Tipperary North

Succeeded by
Constituency abolished
New constituency Labour Party Teachta Dála for Tipperary
Political offices
New office Minister of State for Public and Commuter Transport
Succeeded by
Office abolished
Preceded by
Phil Hogan
Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government
Succeeded by
Simon Coveney
as Minister for Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government
Party political offices
Preceded by
Joan Burton
Deputy leader of Labour Party
Succeeded by
Position abolished
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