Pearse Doherty

Pearse Doherty

Pearse Doherty in 2014
Sinn Féin Spokesperson on Finance
Assumed office
February 2011
Leader Gerry Adams
Preceded by position established
Teachta Dála
Assumed office
February 2016
Constituency Donegal
Teachta Dála
In office
November 2010  February 2016
Constituency Donegal South-West
In office
24 July 2007  25 November 2010
Constituency Agricultural Panel
Personal details
Born (1977-07-06) 6 July 1977
Glasgow, United Kingdom
Nationality Irish
Political party Sinn Féin
Spouse(s) Róisín Doherty
Children 4
Alma mater Dublin Institute of Technology
Website Official website

Pearse Doherty (born 6 July 1977) is an Irish Sinn Féin politician.[1] He is a Teachta Dála (TD) for the Donegal constituency and is Sinn Féin's Dáil spokesperson on Finance. He previously served on Donegal County Council from 2004 to 2007, in Seanad Éireann from 2007 to 2010, and as TD for the Donegal South-West constituency from 2010 to 2016.

Background and education

Doherty was born to an Irish family living in Glasgow, Scotland. The family returned home to the Gaeltacht area of Gweedore (Gaoth Dobhair), County Donegal, when he was three years old. He grew up in the Gaeltacht and is a native speaker of the Irish language.[2]

In 1996, Doherty enrolled in a civil engineering degree course at Dublin Institute of Technology. He completed two years of the course, earning a national certificate that entitled him to work as a civil engineering technician. He then left third level education to pursue a job in that field.[3] Doherty later resumed his studies by enrolling in another civil engineering course at Letterkenny Institute of Technology, but dropped out to run for the Dáil in the 2002 general election.[4]

Personal life

Doherty resides in his hometown of Gweedore and is married to Róisín, a native of County Monaghan and a national school teacher. They have four sons.[5]

Political career

A member of Sinn Féin since 1996, Doherty was a founding member of Sinn Féin Republican Youth and served on its national executive.

In the 2002 general election, Doherty ran unsuccessfully for Dáil Éireann in the Donegal South-West constituency. On 11 June 2004, he ran simultaneously in the 2004 European Parliament elections and in the local elections for Donegal County Council. He failed to win a seat in the European Parliament, but was elected to serve as a county councillor for the Glenties area of Donegal.[6]

Doherty's second attempt to win a Dáil seat at the 2007 general election also proved unsuccessful; he received 21.2% of the first-preference vote. However, he was elected to Seanad Éireann by the Agricultural Panel on 24 July 2007.[6]

On 12 July 2010, the High Court granted Doherty a judicial review into why the government had not held a by-election to fill the Dáil seat vacated by Fianna Fáil's Pat the Cope Gallagher when he won election to the European Parliament in June 2009.[7] On 2 November 2010, the High Court ruled that the government had delayed unreasonably in holding the by-election. In response to the ruling, the government announced that the Donegal South-West by-election would be held on 25 November 2010. Doherty stood as the Sinn Féin candidate and won the by-election by a substantial margin, earning 39.8 percent of the first-preference vote.[8][9] Upon taking his seat in the Dáil, Doherty was appointed Sinn Féin's spokesperson on Finance. However, the Dáil was dissolved on 1 February 2011, at which point Doherty had been a TD for just over nine weeks.

During the run up to the 2011 general election of 25 February 2011, several newspapers alleged that Doherty had misled the public by stating on various Sinn Féin and Oireachtas webpages that he had formerly worked as a "civil engineer", an occupation that presumes a degree-level qualification. Doherty insisted that he had "always been upfront" about the fact that he had not completed his degree, clarified his educational credentials, and acknowledged that he had qualified as a civil engineering technician and not a civil engineer.[4][10]

In the 2011 general election, Doherty topped the poll decisively in Donegal South-West, attaining 33.0 percent of the first-preference vote.[11]

Doherty represented Sinn Féin in the Oireachtas delegation that met the Bundestag's Budgetary and European Affairs committees in Berlin in late January 2012.[12]

Doherty put €8,000 worth of unspent travel and accommodation expenses towards hiring part-time party workers despite these expenses being supposed to be returned to the Oireachtas under rules introduced in 2010, it was revealed in June 2012.[13] A report found that he had not breached any expense rules, and was cleared of any wrongdoing.[14]

At the 2016 general election, after a redrawing of constituency boundaries, Doherty was elected to the new five-seater Donegal constituency on the 8th count.[15]


  1. "Mr. Pearse Doherty". Oireachtas Members Database. Retrieved 19 March 2011.
  2. "You'll be getting my number one and there's more again in that house and down the lane". The Irish Times. 11 November 2010.
  3. "Sinn Féin Donegal South-West candidate's biographical error". BBC News. 4 February 2011. Retrieved 4 February 2011.
  4. 1 2 "Sinn Féin's Doherty forced to clarify job qualifications". 3 February 2011. Retrieved 3 February 2011.
  5. "Doherty has another date marked in his calender". Irish Independent. 14 May 2012.
  6. 1 2 "Pearse Doherty". Retrieved 3 July 2009.
  7. "Bye-election judicial review is allowed". RTÉ News. 12 July 2010. Retrieved 12 July 2010.
  8. "Sinn Féin to demand date for by-election". Ocean FM. 11 January 2010. Retrieved 24 January 2010.
  9. "Live updates: Donegal by-election count". RTÉ News. 26 November 2010.
  10. Kerr, ine (4 February 2011). "Doherty 'pulls a Bertie' with his engineer claim". Irish Independent. Retrieved 5 February 2011.
  11. "Election 2011: National Summary". RTÉ News. 28 February 2011.
  12. "Oireachtas delegation in Bundestag meeting". RTÉ News. 26 January 2012. Retrieved 26 January 2012.
  13. "How Sinn Féin TDs are breaking the rules on expenses". Irish Independent. 20 June 2012.
  14. Gavan Reilly. "Oireachtas confirms Pearse Doherty did NOT breach expenses rules".
  15. "Donegal count: Independent Thomas Pringle takes final seat". The Irish Times. 28 February 2016. Retrieved 29 February 2016.
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Pearse Doherty.
Preceded by
Pat the Cope Gallagher
(Fianna Fáil)
Sinn Féin Teachta Dála for Donegal South-West
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