Top adviser respected in party as key strategist
FINE Gael veteran Mark Kennelly has shadowed leader Enda Kenny for almost a decade, helped steer him through the infamous heave and towards the party's unprecedented election victory.
The Killarney native served under Fine Gael leaders John Bruton and Michael Noonan, but he came to most prominence and influence under Mr Kenny.
Appointed the party's chef-de-cabinet in 2001 by then leader Mr Noonan, Mr Kennelly has become increasingly visible with the new Taoiseach.
While the advisers and communications experts in the party have not always endeared themselves to backbench TDs, Mr Kennelly is credited with being politically savvy and a good strategist.
He first worked with Fine Gael during the Rainbow Coalition as a researcher at the European Parliament. He was then elevated to the position of special adviser to Michael Lowry from June 6, 1995, until November 1996. He then became a policy adviser to the party. Now he has been installed in Government Buildings as special adviser to the Taoiseach. It came after he played an important role in the recent Programme for Government negotiations and operated as Mr Kenny's election tour manager.