Paul Coghlan was first elected to Seanad Éireann in 1997 and was re-elected to on the Industrial and Commercial Panel in 2016.
He currently serves as Leas-Cathaoirleach of the Seanad, and works on the Committee on the Implementation of the Good Friday Agreement and the Joint E.U. Affairs Committee.
He has served as Government Chief Whip and Spokesperson on Defence a member of the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Finance.
He was a member of Kerry County Council, Killarney UDC, Kerry VEC, and Dingle Harbour Commissioners. Paul is a member and former President of Killarney Chamber of Commerce.
He was a founding director of Radio Kerry and is a trustee and former Chairman of Muckross House as well as a patron of the Hugh O'Flaherty Society.
Senator Coghlan serves on the British-Irish Parliamentary Assembly and on Committee A which deals with Sovereign Matters. Committee A considers sovereign matters of relevance to both Britain and Ireland. It has examined and made recommendations on a number of important issues over the last 20 years including:
- The workings of the Anglo-Irish Agreement
- Extradition and transfer of prisoners
- Co-operation between policing services
- Freedom of movement between Britain and Ireland
He is a member of the Institute of Bankers in Ireland, the Life Insurance Association and the Institute of Professional Auctioneers and Valuers.