Gerry Kelly was born in Belfast in 1953. He was reared in a family of eleven children,seven girls and four boys. When the conflict broke out in the late sixties,with many of his generation,he joined in the resistance against the military forces of the British backed Orange State in the North of Ireland.
He has been an Irish Republican activist all of his adult life. After joining the IRA he was imprisoned on a number of occasions – escaping twice. On his release in 1989 he joined Sinn Féin and became part of their negotiating team leading up to the Good Friday agreement ,followed by the Saint Andrews agreement and the Hillsborough agreement.
Elected For the first time in 1996,in the forum elections,he became a member of the new Legislative Assembly (MLA) in 1998. He has been a MLA since,having been returned in each successive election. Between 2007 and 2011 he was a junior minister. He is now Sinn Féin policing spokesperson and is also a member of the policing board.
He lives in Belfast with his wife Margaret. Between them they have seven children and four grandchildren.