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

Seán Kelly

Kelly, Seán-9813.jpg
Member of the European Parliament
Assumed office
1 July 2009
Personal details
Born (1952-04-26) 26 April 1952 (age 67)
Killarney, County Kerry, Ireland
Political party Irish:
Fine Gael
European People's Party
Spouse(s)Juliette Kelly (m. 1987)
EducationSt. Brendan's College, Killarney
Alma mater

He served as the 34th President of the Gaelic Athletic Association from 2003 to 2006. He was the first person from County Kerry to hold the office, being elected at his 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 lifeEdit

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 careerEdit

Before being elected president of the GAA he served as Chairman of the East Kerry from 1975 to 1987 and County Kerry Boards from 1987 to 1997 and Munster Council from 1997 to 2000. He also was one of the founding members of the St. Patricks East Kerry hurling team in 1984. As the first person from County Kerry to hold the office of President of the GAA, his presidency is seen as a landmark one in moving forward the Association on so many fronts with 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 careerEdit

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 European 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 the South constituency at the 2014 European Parliament election.

Kelly has been lobbying to end the bi-annual clock change in the EU,[12] but he's in favour of Ireland adopting year round summertime or Central European Time instead of its present, closer to solar time, Western European Time.[13]


  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.
  12. ^ “High time to end bi-annual clock change” – MEP Kelly
  13. ^ Keep summer time year round: MEP Kelly

External linksEdit