Seán Kelly (Irish politician)

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Seán Kelly

Kelly, Seán-9813.jpg
Member of the European Parliament
Assumed office
1 July 2009
Personal details
Seán Thomas Kelly

(1952-04-26) 26 April 1952 (age 66)
Killarney, County Kerry, Ireland
Political party Irish:
Fine Gael
European People's Party
Spouse(s)Juliette Kelly (m. 1987)
  • Padraig
  • Muiread
  • Lawrence
  • Julie
EducationSt. Brendan's College, Killarney
Alma mater

Seán Thomas Kelly (born 26 April 1952) is an Irish politician who has served as a Member of the European Parliament (MEP) from Ireland since 2009. He is a member of Fine Gael, part of the European People's Party.[1]

He served as the 34th President of the Gaelic Athletic Association (2003–06). He was the first Kerry man to hold that office being elected at the first attempt by a record margin at the GAA Congress in 2002. In July 2006 he took up the position of Executive Chairman of the Irish Institute of Sport, a body that was set up in Ireland to support elite athletes and players, and served as Executive President until he announced his resignation in July 2008.[2]

Early and personal life[edit]

Kelly was born in Knockataggle, Kilcummin, Killarney, County Kerry in 1952. He was born into a family that was deeply involved in the Gaelic Athletic Association. His grandfather had been chairman of the local club and his four uncles had distinguished playing careers, with his uncle, also Seán Kelly, starring at full-forward for Kerry in their All-Ireland Championship success over Armagh in 1953. He is a first cousin to Fionnuala O'Kelly, wife of former Taoiseach Enda Kenny.[3]

Kelly was educated at Kilcummin National School, Tralee CBS and St. Brendan's College, Killarney. He qualified as a primary school teacher in St Patrick's College of Education, Drumcondra and then attended University College Dublin where he received a B.A. and Higher Diploma in Education. He worked as a teacher in Dublin (Cromcastle Green, Kilmore West) and in St. Brendan's, Killarney.

GAA career[edit]

Before being elected president of the GAA he served as Chairman of the East Kerry (1975–87) and County Kerry Boards (1987–97) and Munster Council (1997–2000). He also was one of the founding members of the St. Patricks East Kerry hurling team in 1984. As the first Kerryman to hold the position of President of the GAA his presidency is seen as a landmark one in moving forward the Association on so many fronts – the introduction of Christy Ring Cup and Nicky Rackard Cup, Tommy Murphy Cup, All-Ireland Junior and Intermediate Championships, he also oversaw the completion of the Croke Park re-development through the completion of Hill 16/Northern end and the building of the Croke Park Jury’s Hotel. He introduced the President’s Awards and developed a great working relationship with the GPA and initiated major improvements in player welfare matters.

He is also credited with the successful conclusion of arrangements for the use of Croke Park, the GAA’s 82,500 capacity national stadium, by the Irish Rugby Football Union and the Football Association of Ireland while Lansdowne Road was being re-developed.

He has received a string of awards including Person of the Year 2005, Community Entrepreneur of the Year 2006, Business Person of the month (April 2005) and was awarded an Honorary Doctorate by Dublin Institute of Technology in February 2007.

Political career[edit]

He was elected as a Fine Gael candidate at the 2009 European Parliament election for the South constituency, at the expense of sitting MEP and party colleague Colm Burke.[4] Kelly is a member of the European Parliament's Committee on Regional Development and the delegation for relations with the United States. He also serves as a substitute member of the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy, Committee on Culture and Education and the delegation for relations with Canada.

In 2013 Kelly served as rapporteur for the ITRE Committee on European Commission Vice President Viviane Reding's proposals for the overhaul of the Data Protection regime across the European Union. [5] He later represented the Parliament at the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris[6] and at the 2016 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Marrakesh[7]

Kelly has been highly active since entering the Parliament, having spoken in the plenary session 529 times, and having tabled over 340 parliamentary questions as of February 2013.[8]

Kelly was elected MEP of the Year for Research and Innovation by fellow MEPs for his work on the European Parliament's ITRE Committee in 2012 [9]

Kelly is a receptient of IAB Europe's Award for Leadership and Excellence in Public Policy for his work on data protection [10]

He had been mentioned as a possible Fine Gael candidate for the 2011 presidential election.[3][11] He was re-elected as an MEP for South at the 2014 European Parliament election.


  1. ^ "Seán Kelly". Retrieved 11 June 2009.
  2. ^ "Kelly steps down from role with Irish Institute of Sport". Irish Examiner. 30 July 2008.
  3. ^ a b Minihan, Mary (15 March 2011). "Labour to choose between Higgins and Finlay as presidential candidate". The Irish Times.
  4. ^ "FG's Sean Kelly takes second seat in Ireland South". Irish Independent. 8 June 2009. Retrieved 8 June 2009.
  5. ^
  6. ^ COP21 climate change talks: MEPs in Paris to push for 2°C target European Parliament, press release of December 4, 2015.
  7. ^ MEPs to participate in COP22 climate change conference in Marrakesh European Parliament, press release of November 11, 2016.
  8. ^
  9. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2012-12-27. Retrieved 2013-02-21.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  10. ^
  11. ^ Sheahan, Fionnan (10 September 2010). "Race to succeed McAleese will be no stroll in the park". Irish Independent.

External links[edit]

European Parliament
Preceded by
Colm Burke
(Fine Gael)
Member of the European Parliament for South
Gaelic games
Preceded by
Seán McCague
President of the Gaelic Athletic Association
Succeeded by
Nickey Brennan