Martin Kelly is a native of Armagh City. He was educated in the Christian Brothers Primary and Grammar schools and went on to study at Armagh College of Further Education. Due to high unemployment in the North at that time, Martin was forced to travel to London to find work, where he spent many years initially working in construction and then with special needs children at Oaklands School in Hounslow. On his return to Armagh, Martin found work as a nursing assistant at Saint Luke’s Hospital in Armagh, caring for patients there for many years. At that time, Martin discovered a calling to be a funeral director, and over the past twenty-five years, he has grown and developed a successful business, which now incorporates a wheelchair taxi business, caring for disabled and special needs patrons within the local community and far beyond.
For over twenty-five years now, Martin has also been a hard working Brancardier in Lourdes, attending the place of pilgrimage each year to work with assisted pilgrims, and for the last number of years, Martin has been the chairperson of the Armagh City Diocesan Pilgrimage to Lourdes committee. He is also an avid member of the local branch of the Knights of Saint Columbanus, and generously supports and sponsors many local sporting organisations, including local GAA clubs and many other local events.Martin also has a personal interest in mental health and addiction issues, with his own life and faith journey highlighted in the BBC documentary, City of Faith, in 2014. One of Martin’s main concerns is that a lot more needs to be done concerning funding for a wide range of mental health issues, focusing on areas such as suicide prevention, addiction problems as well as the continued rise in domestic violence.
Martin finally decided to become politically engaged after witnessing the radical and distressing ‘Pro-Choice’ stance taken by other political parties both North and South of the border, whom he feels betrayed many of the electorate. This issue combined with the continuing political impasse at Stormont, and the persistent polarised voting that has divided local communities for decades, has been the catalyst to spur Martin on to becoming a member of Aontú.