Alan Kelly and Aodhán Ó Ríordáin: Who are the Labour leader contenders?

Kelly was deputy leader under Burton, while Ó Ríordáin served as a junior minister

Aodhán Ó Ríordáin (left) and Alan Kelly in the RDS, Dublin during the 2016 general election. File photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Aodhán Ó Ríordáin (left) and Alan Kelly in the RDS, Dublin during the 2016 general election. File photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins


Alan Kelly and Aodhán Ó Ríordáin, the two contenders in the Labour leadership contest, were both first elected to the Dáil as part of the so-called “Gilmore Gale” of 2011, when the party won 37 seats and entered government with Fine Gael.

Kelly (44), from Portroe, Co Tipperary, was the Labour deputy leader under former tánaiste Joan Burton between 2014 and 2016. He also served as minister for the environment during that period of the Fine Gael-Labour coalition.

Between 2011 and 2014 he was minister of state for transport, tourism and Sport when Taoiseach Leo Varadkar was the senior minister in the department. He was a Senator between 2007 and 2009, and was then an MEP for Ireland South between 2009 and 2011.

Kelly was previously an e-business manager with Fáilte Ireland, and his brother, businessman Declan Kelly, is the chief executive of global consultancy firm Teneo. Declan Kelly was appointed as economic envoy to Northern Ireland by Hillary Clinton during her time as US secretary of state.

Alan Kelly said his brother will not be involved in his leadership bid.

Kelly is married with one son and one daughter. His previous effort to run for Labour leader in 2016 was thwarted when he failed to secure a nomination from his parliamentary Labour party colleagues.

Dublin Bay North

In the recent general election, Ó Ríordáin (43) won back the Dublin Bay North seat he lost at the 2016 election. He was first elected in the old Dublin North Central constituency in 2011, and served as minister of state with responsibility for equality, new community and culture across the Department of Justice and the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht between 2014 and 2016.

Between 2015 and 2016, he was also given responsibility for the national drugs strategy, and championed the policy of introducing supervised injecting centres.

After he lost his Dáil seat in 2016, he was elected to the Seanad, and prior to his entry into national politics he was a member of Dublin City Council between 2004 and 2007.

He is a teacher by profession, and was previously principal at St Laurence O’Toole’s girls’ school on Sheriff Street in Dublin’s north inner city.

Ó Ríordáin is married with one daughter. Originally hailing from Malahide, Co Dublin, he now lives in Drumcondra.