Labour's rising star in contention to take Penrose's slot in Cabinet
ALAN Kelly has enjoyed a meteoric rise within the Labour Party since first being elected as a senator in 2007.
Before that, he was a business manager with Failte Ireland and studied in UCC, Boston College and the Smurfit Business School in UCD.
Mr Kelly spent two years in the Seanad before contesting the European elections in 2009, when he won a seat in the Ireland South constituency.
However, despite promising that he would serve a full term as an MEP, he ran in Tipperary North in the General Election in February and took the last seat in the constituency.
He has been marked out as a rising star in the party and was appointed junior minister at the Department of Transport on only his second day in the Dail.
Mr Kelly was given responsibility for public transport and this week launched integrated ticketing for Dublin transport services.
Mr Kelly is one of only a few Labour ministers based outside the capital and that could put him in contention for promotion to the 'super junior' slot left open after Willie Penrose's resignation from the position earlier this week.
The 'super junior' sits at the cabinet table but does not have a vote.
Labour sources said the position was likely to go to someone from outside Dublin since Mr Penrose was based in Longford-Westmeath.
Senior ministers have mentioned Mr Kelly in connection with the job.
Nenagh-based Mr Kelly is married to Regina and they have one daughter.
He is also a brother of Declan Kelly, who recently stepped down as US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's economics envoy to Northern Ireland.
Declan Kelly has since set up a new merchant bank and private-equity company called Teneo.