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Seán Kelly (Irish politician)

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Seán Kelly (Irish politician)

Seán Kelly
Member of the European Parliament
Assumed office
June 2009
Constituency South
Personal details
Born (1952-04-26) 26 April 1952
County Kerry, Ireland
Nationality Irish
Political party Fine Gael / EPP
Alma mater St Patrick's College of Education,
University College Dublin
Seán Kelly, seen here clapping at the bottom left with the beard, was President of the Gaelic Athletic Association when Brian Dooher lifted the Sam Maguire Cup for Tyrone in 2005.

Seán Kelly (born 26 April 1952) is an Irish politician and Member of the European Parliament (MEP) for the South constituency. He is a member of Fine Gael, part of the European People's Party.[1]

He is a former 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 1
  • GAA career 2
  • Political career 3
  • References 4
  • External links 5

Early and personal life

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 the current 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

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

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 he 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]

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.[6]

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 [7]

Kelly is a receptient of IAB Europe's Award for Leadership and Excellence in Public Policy for his work on data protection [8]

He had been mentioned as a possible Fine Gael candidate for the 2011 presidential election.[3][9] 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".  
  3. ^ a b Minihan, Mary (15 March 2011). "Labour to choose between Higgins and Finlay as presidential candidate".  
  4. ^ "FG's Sean Kelly takes second seat in Ireland South".  
  5. ^
  6. ^
  7. ^
  8. ^
  9. ^ Sheahan, Fionnan (10 September 2010). "Race to succeed McAleese will be no stroll in the park".  

External links

  • Seán Kelly's page on the Fine Gael website
  • Seán Kelly's page on the VoteWatch website
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
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