Tipperary’s Labour Party Minister of State, Mr Allan Kelly, has confirmed that he will be putting his name forward as a possible contender for one of two positions within the Labour Party, that of Deputy Leader and Leader, following the resignation yesterday of current Tánaiste and Party leader Mr Eamon Gilmore.
Currently Minister of State for Transport, Tourism and Sport, with special responsibility for Public Transport and Commuter Affairs, Mr Kelly, a native of Portroe, Nenagh, County Tipperary was born on July13th 1975, to parents Thomas and Nan Kelly. A former Senator and Member of the European Parliament (MEP), Alan was elected to Dail Eireann in the February 2011 general election.
Educated at Nenagh Christian Brothers School (NCBS), Mr Kelly subsequently attended University College Cork (UCC) where he completed a BA degree in English and History in 1995. Two years later he completed a Master of Philosophy in Political History, before continued his education at Boston College where he achieved a Certificate in Leadership in 1999. On returning to Ireland a short time later he completed an MBA in e-commerce in 2002, before joining Bord Fáilte and Fáilte Ireland with responsibility for e-business Management.
Mr Kelly is no stranger to Irish left-wing politics, having first canvassed for the Labour Party during the 1992 General Election, before establishing the Jim Kemmy Branch of the Labour Party in University College Cork (UCC). He later became involved in a number of by-election and local election campaigns in the wider Munster area. Mr Kelly has also served as Co-Chairperson and Chairperson of Labour Youth in 2000.
Mr Kelly launched his national political career in 2007, when he secured his election to Seanad Éireann, on the Agricultural Panel. Following the election of Eamon Gilmore as leader of the Labour Party in 2007, Mr Kelly was appointed as Labour Party spokesperson on Tourism and was Seanad Éireann spokesperson on Finance and Local Government.
Elected as an MEP for the South constituency in the 2009 European Parliament election, Mr Kelly took the last seat in a tight fought battle, edging out Sinn Féin’s Toireasa Ferris and Independent Kathy Sinnott, to become a member of the European Parliament’s Committee on Internal Market and Consumer Protection.
Mr Kelly is married, with two children, to primary school teacher Regina O’Connor, latter a native of Waterville, County Kerry.
Mr Kelly refuses to comment further on his confirmed leadership challenge, until he meets up with other Parliamentary Party Colleagues later today, but it is expected that many within the Labour Party would welcome his youth, fresh energy, commitment and political stamina.