Joseph O'Doherty

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Joseph O'Doherty (24 December 1891 – 10 August 1979) was an Irish politician.[1]

Early life

He was born at 14 Little Diamond, Derry, Ireland, to Michael Doherty, a car owner, and Rose McLaughlin.[2][3]

He was educated at St Columb's College and St Patrick's College, Drumcondra, where he qualified as a teacher. He later attended King's Inns where he qualified as a barrister.[4]

He was a member of the Irish Volunteers Executive which helped plan the Easter Rising of 1916 and would remain on the Executive until 1921. He was arrested after the Easter Rising, and sent to jail, first at the Abercorn Barracks at Ballykinlar in County Down, and was subsequently moved other gaols including Frongoch in Wales. He was not imprisoned in Mountjoy (Dublin), although he was one of the last people to speak to Padraig Pearce there (either as a visitor or through a window) before the latter was executed.

He was elected as a Sinn Féin Member of Parliament for Donegal North at the 1918 general election defeating his Irish Parliamentary Party opponent.[5] In 1919 Sinn Féin candidates who had been elected in the Westminster election of 1918 refused to recognise the Parliament of the United Kingdom and instead assembled as a unicameral, revolutionary parliament called "Dáil Éireann". The establishment of the First Dáil occurred on the same day as the outbreak of the Irish War of Independence.

He was re-elected at the 1921 general election and opposed the Anglo-Irish Treaty. He was subsequently re-elected as Anti-Treaty Sinn Féin and as an abstentionist republican in 1922 and 1923 respectively. He was part of the Republican mission to the United States of America from 1922–24 and 1925–26.

In 1926 he left the party's Ard Fheis with Éamon de Valera and became a founder member of Fianna Fáil. He lost his seat at the June 1927 general election and was elected to the Seanad in 1928, serving as one of Fianna Fáil's first six elected Senators under the leadership of Joseph Connolly. He was re-elected to the Dáil in the 1933 general election. From 1929–33 he also served as the County Manager of Carlow and Kildare

In 1936 O'Doherty successfully sued Ernie O'Malley for libel. The incident in question involved a raid Michael Collins had proposed to take place on 1 October 1919 at Moville, County Donegal. O'Malley, in his book On Another Man's Wound, had implied that O'Doherty had refused to go. In fact it had been agreed, without O'Doherty's intervention, that it would be inapproriate for a member of the Dáil to be involved.[6]

He died in 1979, the third last surviving member of the First Dáil, and is buried in the Republican Plot in Glasnevin Cemetery Dublin.


Joseph was married to Margaret (Mairéad) née Irvine, of Irvinstown, County Fermanagh, a doctor and medical officer for Derry from 1919 to 1921, they had five children, Sister Dr. Brid O'Doherty (1919–2018), Dr. Fíona O'Callaghan, Dr. Roisín McCallum, Sr. Deirdre (Poor Clare's) and David O'Docherty..[7]


  1. ^ "Mr. Joseph O'Doherty". Oireachtas Members Database. Retrieved 8 March 2012.
  2. ^ "General Registrar's Office". Retrieved 13 April 2017.
  3. ^ "Joseph O'Doherty TD - The proud Derry man who stood for Inishowen in first Dail". Retrieved 2017-04-13.
  4. ^ "Mr. Joseph O'Doherty". Irish Times Obituary. Retrieved 28 August 2012.
  5. ^ "Joseph O'Doherty". Retrieved 8 March 2012.
  6. ^ Richard English, Ernie O'Malley: IRA Intellectual, p.44, Oxford University Press, 1999, ISBN 0-19-820807-3
  7. ^ Nun who became an expert in French Romanticism - Brid O'Doherty' Obituaries, Irish Times, Weekend Edition, 4 August 2018.
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