John Paul Phelan

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John Paul Phelan
Minister of State
2017–2020Housing, Planning and Local Government
Teachta Dála
Assumed office
February 2011
In office
12 September 2002 – 25 February 2011
ConstituencyAgricultural Panel
Personal details
Born (1978-09-27) 27 September 1978 (age 45)[1]
Waterford, Ireland
Political partyFine Gael
Claire McTernan
(m. 2018)
EducationGood Counsel College
Alma materWaterford Institute of Technology

John Paul Phelan (born 27 September 1978) is an Irish Fine Gael politician who has been a Teachta Dála (TD) for the Carlow–Kilkenny constituency since the 2011 general election. He previously served as Minister of State for Local Government and Electoral Reform from 2017 to 2020. He also served as a Senator for the Labour Panel from 2002 to 2011.[2]

Early life[edit]

Phelan grew up on a farm in Tullogher, County Kilkenny.[3] He attended national school in Listerlin and secondary school at St Augustine's and Good Counsel College, New Ross before graduating from Waterford Institute of Technology with a degree in economics and finance.[4]

Political career[edit]

He was elected to Kilkenny County Council in 1999 for the Piltown local electoral area while still a student. At the age of 20, this made him the youngest person ever elected to the council.[5]

He was elected in 2002 to Seanad Éireann as a Senator for the Agricultural Panel, the youngest member of the 22nd Seanad,[6] and was re-elected in 2007. He was the Fine Gael Seanad spokesperson on Enterprise, Trade and Employment, having previously held the portfolio of Seanad spokesperson on Finance.

In the 2007 general election, he was beaten for the last seat by Mary White of the Green Party.[7] He was a candidate at the 2009 European Parliament election for the East constituency but was not elected.[7]

He was elected as a Fine Gael TD for the Carlow–Kilkenny constituency at the 2011 general election.

Phelan has sat on the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Justice, Law and Defence. He is one of the Irish delegates sitting on the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe and is an Irish representative on the British–Irish Parliamentary Assembly. He was critical of the Government decision to change the rules regarding the Domiciliary Care Allowance its effect on families of children with Autism. On 10 November 2012, Phelan took part in the "Save our Services" protest march in Waterford.[8]

In June 2017, he was appointed Minister of State at the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government with special responsibility for Local Government and Electoral Reform.

He called for a "No" vote in the 2018 referendum on Abortion.[9] He has spearheaded legislation which may force political parties to fill 40% of their nominations with migrants, women and ethnic minorities in future elections.[10]

At the general election in February 2020, he was re-elected in the Carlow–Kilkenny constituency.[11][12] He continued to serve as a junior minister until the new Fianna Fáil–Fine Gael–Green coalition government was formed in June 2020.

In 2023, Phelan announced that he would not seek re-election to the Dáil at the next general election.[5]

Personal life[edit]

In 2018, Phelan married Fine Gael activist Claire McTernan.[13] In 2020, he suffered a heart attack.[14]


  1. ^ Tim Ryan (2020). Nealon's Guide to the 33rd Dáil and 26th Seanad and the 2019 Local and European Elections. Grand Canal Publishing.
  2. ^ "John Paul Phelan". Oireachtas Members Database. Archived from the original on 14 April 2019. Retrieved 1 April 2008.
  3. ^ "Profile: John Paul Phelan (FG)". The Irish Times. 28 February 2016. Retrieved 19 April 2023.
  4. ^ Collins, Stephen (2011). Nealon's Guide to the 31st Dáil and 24th Seanad. Dublin: Gill & Macmillan. p. 23. ISBN 9780717150595.
  5. ^ a b Loughlin, Elaine; Phelan, Ciara (18 April 2023). "Fine Gael's John Paul Phelan retiring as TD". Irish Examiner. Retrieved 19 April 2023.
  6. ^ O'Halloran, Marie (10 February 2020). "Election 2020: John Paul Phelan (Fine Gael) Carlow-Kilkenny – Elected on the eighth count". The Irish Times. Archived from the original on 7 June 2021. Retrieved 7 June 2021.
  7. ^ a b "John Paul Phelan". Archived from the original on 31 January 2019. Retrieved 25 January 2010.
  8. ^ Kane, Conor; Sheahan, Fionnan (12 November 2012). "Fine Gael pair threaten to vote against hospital cuts". Irish Independent. Archived from the original on 11 April 2016.
  9. ^ Bardon, Sarah (16 May 2018). "Cross-party group of politicians calls for No vote in referendum". The Irish Times. Archived from the original on 7 June 2021. Retrieved 11 June 2018.
  10. ^ Loughlin, Elaine (10 September 2018). "Quota system targets migrants, women and minorities". Irish Examiner. Archived from the original on 30 November 2020. Retrieved 10 September 2018.
  11. ^ Tracey, Michael (10 February 2020) [9 February 2020]. "Carlow-Kilkenny results: Green Party's Malcolm Noonan takes final seat". The Irish Times. Archived from the original on 7 June 2021. Retrieved 7 June 2021.
  12. ^ "Election 2020: Carlow–Kilkenny". The Irish Times. 10 February 2020. Archived from the original on 7 June 2021. Retrieved 7 June 2021.
  13. ^ "A political romance: Festive wedding bells for minister John Paul Phelan and FG activist Claire McTernan". Irish Independent. 24 December 2018. Retrieved 19 April 2023.
  14. ^ "Fine Gael TD John Paul Phelan recovering after heart attack". The Irish Times. 27 August 2020. Retrieved 19 April 2023.

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