Born in 1955, Dermot Ahern represents the border constituency of Louth and has always taken a keen interest in the North, the dominant part of his brief.
His move from the Department of Communications, Marine and Natural Resources to the Department of Foreign Affairs in Iveagh House is a clear promotion.
A former co-chair of the British-Irish Inter-Parliamentary Body, he has taken part in peace process talks since before the IRA ceasefire in 1994.
Coming from a border area, he has come to the issue with a lot of background knowledge.
He has a reputation for being a straight-talker and is not afraid to trade insults across the parliamentary chamber with opposition politicians.
A lawyer, he would describe himself as a constitutional republican. But like many Fianna Fail representatives, he has campaigned for the nationalist SDLP in the Six Counties.
Although they share the same surname, he is not related to the Prime Minister, Taoiseach Bertie Ahern.
Unusually for a Fianna Fail TD, he has more of an interest in soccer that Gaelic football or hurling, attending matches played by Dundalk FC.
Outside of politics he is a keen sportsman and was once an Ulster champion windsurfer.