Enda's 'closest adviser' has been a friend for 30 years
PUBLIC relations guru Mark Mortell has direct access to the corridors of power after Fine Gael's return to government.
He is a trusted associate of Taoiseach Enda Kenny and worked as an adviser to the Fine Gael leader in the six months leading up to the 2011 General Election.
During the Taoiseach's previous term in Cabinet, in the Rainbow Government, the then Tourism and Trade Minister made Mr Mortell the chairman of Bord Failte.
Mr Mortell and current FAS director general Paul O'Toole, who was one of those who decided to award the FAS contract to Fleishman Hillard, worked together in Bord Failte.
Mr Mortell worked closely with Mr Kenny on media and communications strategy in the run up to the election. A Fine Gael source last night described Mr Mortell as "Enda's closest adviser".
He was also involved in the coalition talks between Fine Gael and the Labour Party.
Mr Mortell was on leave from his job as a director and head of consulting at Fleishman Hillard, where he has worked since 2002.
After Mr Kenny took up office, he went back to his regular role. But Mr Mortell's friendship with Mr Kenny goes back 30 years. The spin doctor is also a former Fine Gael councillor.
Mr Mortell is in his early 50s and is married with children.