Micheál Martin was born in Turners Cross, Cork, in 1960, the son of Paddy Martin, formerly of CIE and ex-Irish International boxer, and Lana Corbett. He was educated locally, at Scoil Chríost Rí and Coláiste Chríost Rí, and remains a frequent visitor to both schools.
He later attended University College Cork where he qualified with a Bachelor of Arts degree. Micheál subsequently completed his Master of Arts thesis in Political History, before deciding to embark on a career as a secondary school teacher in St. Kierans College, Camden Quay, Cork.
It was at UCC that a keen interest in politics was developed and Micheál has been a member of the Fianna Fáil National Executive since 1988. Terms were also served as Chairman of Ógra Fianna Fáil and as a member of the Commission on the Aims and Structures of Fianna Fáil.
First elected to Cork Corporation in 1985, Micheál was Lord Mayor in 1992-93. Since entering national politics in 1989 the Cork South Central TD has served on the Fianna Fáil front bench and in four cabinet posts: Minister for Foreign Affairs (2008-2011), Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment (2004-2008), Minister for Health (2000-04) and Minister for Education (1997-2000).
In March 2009, Micheál published a book from a thesis he wrote while studying at UCC, ‘Freedom to Choose: Cork and Party Politics in Ireland 1918-1932’ is published by Collins Press.
A keen sports fan he is a strong supporter of Nemo Rangers and Cork GAA.
Micheál is married to Mary O’Shea. With their young family they live in Ballinlough in Cork.
Micheál Martin was first elected to Dáil Éireann for the constituency of Cork South Central in 1989. He is a former Chairman of the Oireachtas All Party Committee on the Irish Language (and he is a fluent speaker of the language); a former member of the Dáil Committee on Crime and a former member of the Dáil Committee on Finance and General Affairs. He was opposition spokesperson for Education and the Gaeltacht from 1995 to 1997. He was first elected to Cork Corporation in 1985 and elected an Alderman in 1991. He was Lord Mayor of Cork for 1992-93.
In May 2008 he was appointed Minister for Foreign Affairs and held the post until January 2011. Prior to this appointment, Minister Martin served as Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment from September 2004 to May 2008, Minister for Health from January 2000 to September 2004 and Minister for Education and Science from June 1997 to January 2000.
Prior to his appointment as a Cabinet Minister, he was a member of a wide range of educational, community and local committees including the Cork Vocational Educational Committee and the Governing body of University College Cork. He has previously been the National Chairman of Ógra Fianna Fáil and was also a member of the Aims and Structures Commission within the Party.
On January 26th 2011, he was elected Leader of Fianna Fáil. Since that time he has focused on renewing the Fianna Fáil Party, empowering the membership, and holding the current Government to account through responsible, constructive opposition.