Michael is currently the Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Finance.
At the age of 22, Michael was first elected to local government in 1999 as a member of Passage West Town Council. He was Chairperson of the Town Council in 2000-2001 and subsequently secured a Cork County Council seat in 2004 in the Carrigaline Electoral Area.
In February 2005, Michael resigned from a senior finance post in UCC to concentrate on his role as a public representative.
In 2007, Michael was elected to Dáil Éireann for the constituency of Cork South Central at the first attempt. He has been a member of the Dáil Public Accounts Committee and the Joint Oireachtas Committee on European Affairs. He is currently a member of the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Finance, Public Expenditure and Reform and also a member of the Committee of Inquiry into the Banking Crisis.
Just prior to the 2011 general election, the new Leader of Fianna Fáil Micheál Martin TD appointed Michael as the party's Spokesperson on Financial Sector Reform.
Following the death of Brian Lenihan, RIP, Michael was appointed as the party's Finance Spokesperson in August 2011.