Born Dublin, June 1950. Married to Áine Ní Choincheannain, with three sons and one daughter. Educated Oatlands College, Mount Merrion, Dublin: UCD (BSc). Former Manager of a Gaeltacht Co-Operative involved in establishing local businesses including agricultural services, timber milling, tourism and cultural and social development.
Current Spokesperson on Agriculture, Food and Community Affairs; Appointed Minister for Defence. Appointed Minister for Environment, Heritage and Local Government in 2011; Appointed Minister for Social Protection in 2010; Appointed Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs in 2007; Appointed Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs in 2002; Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Food & Rural Development, with special responsibility for Rural Development, 2001-2002; Minister of State at the Department of Arts, Heritage, Gaeltacht and Islands with special responsibility for the Gaeltacht, Irish language and island development, 1997-2001; Member Galway County Council and of a number of subsidiary Committees, 1991-97;Party Spokesman for Islands, Gaeltacht and Rural Development, 1995-1997; Member of the Forum for Peace and Reconciliation, 1994-97; Elected to Dáil Éireann, 1992; Elected Senator on the Cultural and Educational Panel, 1989-92