From a very strong Fianna Fail family, Ned was elected to Listowel Town Council in 1985 and to Kerry Co Council in 1991. A regular poll-topper in local elections,he was Mayor of Kerry in 2004 and he served several terms as Chairman of Listowel Town Council .
Ned was on the Fianna Fail National Executive from ( dates are correct on existing webpage) and he was Chairman of Kerry North Comhairle Dail Ceanntair for a number of years. He is a cousin of former Fianna Fáil Deputy and Senator, Kit Ahern with whom he shared a great zeal for the arts. He was Chairman of Kerry Arts and published a number of volumes on the archaeological features of Kerry and the indigenous urban architecture of Listowel.
A former Director of Shannon Foynes Port Company, Ned was closely involved in the promotion of the Shannon Estuary as an industrial zone for the mid-west. He was also a member of the South West Regional Authority and the South and East Assembly. His political priorities include equality in education and stronger and more effective local government.
Ned was elected to the Seanad on the Labour Panel in 2007 and was Government Spokesman for Food and Horticulture and Deputy Spokesman for Education in the Upper House.
Re-Elected to Seanad Éireann on the Labour Panel in April 2011.