Aengus Ó Snodaigh

Aengus Ó Snodaigh
Sinn Féin Spokesperson on Defence
Sinn Féin Chief Whip
Assumed office
April 2011
Leader Gerry Adams
Preceded by position established
Teachta Dála
Assumed office
May 2002
Constituency Dublin South-Central
Personal details
Born (1964-07-31) 31 July 1964
Dublin, Ireland
Nationality Irish
Political party Sinn Féin
Spouse(s) Aisling Ní Dálaigh
Children 2
Alma mater University College Dublin

Aengus Ó Snodaigh ([ˈeːŋɡəsˠ oː ˈsˠn̪ˠɔd̪ˠiː] born 31 July 1964) is an Irish Sinn Féin politician, author and historian. He has been a Teachta Dála (TD) for the Dublin South-Central constituency since May 2002,[1] and is the party spokesperson on Social Protection and Communities.

Early and private life

A Dubliner and Irish language speaker, he attended school at Scoil Lorcáin and Coláiste Eoin, before studying at University College Dublin (UCD). Ó Snodaigh joined Sinn Féin while at university, where he was active in student politics, in 1983. He completed a Bachelor of Arts in History and Geography, and a Higher Diploma in Education. Having secured his teaching qualifications, he went on to teach at secondary level and as a literacy teacher in Dublin's inner city.

He is also the editor of Fealsúnacht, Feall agus Fuil which is a collection of historical essays concentrating on the 1798 Rebellion and several pamphlets on aspects of Irish republican history. He is a member of the board of the Ireland Institute, aimed at promoting discussion on Irish republicanism, culture and heritage which restored the Pearse brothers birthplace and original family home at 27 Pearse Street, Dublin, and joint editor of the Institute's journal, The Republic. Ó Snodaigh is the brother of the three Ó Snodaigh brothers in the band Kíla and is the son of the writer and publisher Pádraig Ó Snodaigh and the sculptor Clioḋna Cussen from Newcastlewest, County Limerick. He is married to Aisling Ní Dhálaigh; they live in Bluebell with their three children. He also worked as a journalist, book reviewer and proofreader for An Phoblacht newspaper. In one incident a book-bomb was sent to the office by Ulster loyalist paramilitaries and he carried the device outside the building, where it exploded a short time later, injuring two soldiers.[2]

In January 2005, Ó Snodaigh's wife Aisling Ní Dhalaigh was fined €250 after being found guilty of a public order offence which occurred at 3.10am on 27 May 2004. Dublin District Court heard that Aisling Ni Dalaigh threw a beer glass at a Garda car outside of a nightclub following a Sinn Féin function while Gardaí were rendering assistance to a person in need of an ambulance. A barman identified Ni Dhalaigh as the person who threw the glass and she was arrested at the scene. She resisted arrest and became abusive towards Gardaí. Her sister Niamh Ní Dhalaigh (who was also found guilty and fined €150 for the incident) was also arrested after threatening Gardaí that "they would be in trouble" because Aisling Ni Dhalaigh was married to a TD, and after Aisling Ni Dhalaigh had been arrested her sister Niamh had attempted to open the door of a garda van she was placed in. Niamh Ní Dalaigh called one of the Gardaí involved a "Free State bastard" and a "fucking scumbag" and said he would lose his job because her sister's husband was Aengus Ó Snodaigh.[3] Both women denied being drunk or abusive in court.[4] Judge William Early said he "scarcely believed a word" of evidence given by Aisling Ni Dhalaigh, who was "the most culpable" person in the incident. Judge Early did not apply the Probation Act because "people who invoke political parties and other organisations to threaten gardai" do not deserve it.[5]

In April 2014, one of Ó Snodaigh's sons was stabbed and seriously injured during a late-night altercation with a fellow teenager in his home. In the same month another one of his sons was reported missing, but was later found unharmed.[6][7]

Political career

He was first elected to Dáil Éireann at the 2002 general election, having contested a Dáil election in 1987 in Dublin South-East first and a by-election in the Dublin South-Central constituency in 1999.[8] Seven of Ó Snodaigh's election workers were jailed for IRA membership in 2004.[9]

He is currently the Sinn Féin party whip in the Dáil and is spokesperson on Social Protection. He was previously the Sinn Féin representative on the National Forum on Europe and the party's spokesperson on the Treaty of Nice. He was a member of the Dáil Committee on Procedures and Privileges and the Committee on European Affairs in the 29th Dáil. He was re-elected at the 2007 general election. He has been a member of the Sinn Féin national executive, the Ard Chomhairle, for many years, has been on the Dublin executive of the party since 1985, and was part of the party's negotiations team during the Northern Ireland peace process.

Leinster House IRA spy ring

In 2004, two Sinn Féin election employees Niall Bennett and Keith Donohoe - who worked in Ó Snodaigh's office - were convicted by the Special Criminal Court in Dublin under the Offences against the State Act for spying on high-profile opposition TDs and government ministers. A Garda Special Detective Unit counterintelligence operation resulted in the arrest of Bennett and Donohoe, two of Ó Snodaigh's staff, in October 2002 and during a search of Bennett's home in Crumlin detectives recovered information on the movements of the TDs and members of the Government after they left Leinster House obtained by unlawful espionage. The documents contained details of the movements of various politicians including places they frequented after they finished work, and a list of criminals had been drawn up for targeting by the Provisional IRA for extortion. Bennett was a former secretary of a south Dublin Sinn Féin cumann. Bennett and Donohoe were found guilty of membership of the IRA, a designated terrorist organisation in the Republic of Ireland, and sentenced each to four years in prison.[10]

The arrests coincided with the seizure of two vehicles and the arrest of a number of suspected criminal republicans - in one of the vehicles, a van, detectives found four men together with a number of suspicious items including a sledgehammer, pick-axe handles, eight bags of ties, two-way radios, a black balaclava, rubber gloves and a yellow fluorescent jacket with the word 'Garda' written on it, as well as election posters for Ó Snodaigh. It later emerged that the van had been used during Ó Snodaigh's election campaign. Gardaí were of the belief that this IRA gang was about to carry out a violent crime in an attempt to raise cash for the organisation.[11]

Ó Snodaigh attempted to defend Bennett and Donohoe, criticising the non-jury anti-terror court they were tried in.[11]

Support for Palestine and Nazi propaganda comments

Ó Snodaigh is a well known supporter of the Palestinian cause and has in the past been highly critical of the actions of Israel.

During the 2009 Gaza–Israel conflict Ó Snodaigh claimed that Alan Shatter, a Fine Gael TD, and the Israeli ambassador to Ireland had exposed the Oireachtas committee on Foreign Affairs to "propaganda, twisted logic and half truths". He also said that Joseph Goebbels, the Nazi propaganda minister, would have been proud of it.[12] Israeli ambassador to Ireland, Dr Zion Evrony, labelled Ó Snodaigh's comments as "outrageous" and asked for an apology, which Ó Snodaigh refused. Shatter, the only Jewish member of the Dáil, said he was appalled by Ó Snodaigh's mindset that he would liken a Jewish politician to a Nazi minister. Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny demanded a retraction and described Ó Snodaigh's attack on Shatter as "despicable and outrageous". European Affairs Minister Dick Roche, a Fianna Fáil TD, said Ó Snodaigh's statement was "sickening and calculated to offend" and "the fact that Ó Snodaigh made his remarks in the period immediately before the National Holocaust Memorial Day makes his actions doubly reprehensible."[13]

On 30 May 2010, he was one of three Irish politicians who were prevented from leaving Cyprus by authorities to join an international flotilla carrying aid to the blockaded Gaza Strip.[14] In March 2011, Ó Snodaigh set off on another flotilla to Gaza. One of his shipmates included former TD and member of Fianna Fáil Chris Andrews.[15]

Expenses controversy

It was reported in February 2012 that Ó Snodaigh's office had used €50,000 worth of ink cartridges from the Oireachtas between 2007 and 2008.[16]

Curran-Dempsey murder case

In 2005, a Dublin-based Provisional IRA commander, Bernard Dempsey, shot and killed local sportsman James Curran. Dempsey had been an election agent for Ó Snodaigh's campaign.[17]

Published works


  1. "Mr. Aengus Ó Snodaigh". Oireachtas Members Database. Retrieved 17 October 2009.
  3. Newman, Christine (13 January 2005). "Wife of SF deputy among three fined for public order offences". The Irish Times. Retrieved 10 May 2016.
  4. Kearns, Martha (13 January 2005). "Drink, scuffles broken glass and catcalls". The Irish Independent. Retrieved 10 May 2016.
  5. Healy, Tim (13 January 2005). "Sinn Fein TD's wife fined after row outside nightclub". Irish Independent. Retrieved 10 May 2016.
  6. "O Snodaigh's son stabbed 'in row over video game'". Irish Independent. 28 April 2014. Retrieved 24 December 2015.
  7. "Son (16) of Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD found after going missing". The Irish Times. 29 April 2014. Retrieved 24 December 2015.
  8. "Aengus Ó Snodaigh". Retrieved 17 October 2009.
  9. "SF man chief suspect in killing". Irish Independent. 10 April 2005.
  10. Williams, Paul (23 December 2015). "Paul Williams: IRA spy ring watching Leinster House holds the key to Sinn Féin's outlook". Irish Independent. Retrieved 24 December 2015.
  11. 1 2 "Outrage at Sinn Fein call to free terrorists linked to TD spy ring". Irish Independent. 17 December 2006. Retrieved 24 December 2015.
  12. "Israeli envoy condemns TD's 'outrageous' Goebbels remark". The Irish Times. 14 January 2009.
  13. Sheahan, Fionnan (15 January 2009). "FG leader demands Nazi jibe retraction". Irish Independent. Retrieved 29 March 2016.
  14. "Delegation blocked from joining Gaza flotilla". RTÉ News. 30 May 2010. Archived from the original on 31 May 2010. Retrieved 30 May 2010.
  15. "Eoghan Harris". Martin must choose either Fine Fail or Flotilla Fail. 30 January 2011. Retrieved 30 January 2011.
  16. "Aengus Ó Snodaigh defends ink cartridge use". RTÉ News. 28 February 2012. Retrieved 28 February 2012.

External links

Preceded by
Extra seat added to constituency
Sinn Féin Teachta Dála for Dublin South-Central
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