The Donegal North East deputy is just 33 – a baby in political terms.
But party insiders say the politician’s grasp of the issues facing the country, together with a ‘superb’ manner with the public will propel him to the forefront of the party.
“We’ve got a real gem in Charlie,” said one long-standing Fianna Fail stalwart.
“I saw him in action on the doorsteps in Letterkenny where he was relatively unknown and he was simply superb.
“He was able to articulate his views clearly and honestly and I have no doubt that is what got him elected last Friday.”
The senior party insider added: “Michael Martin (the party leader) will soon see what a star he is when the next Dail is formed next week.
“He is the future of this party and with people like him reports of our death have been great exaggerated.”
McConalogue has already impressed the party hierarchy with a number of national TV interviews last weekend.