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Seán Doherty (Roscommon politician): Wikis


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Seán Doherty

In office
9 March 1982 – 14 December 1982
Preceded by Jim Mitchell
Succeeded by Michael Noonan

In office
1 November 1989 – 23 January 1992
Preceded by Tras Honan
Succeeded by Seán Fallon

Born 29 June 1944(1944-06-29)
Cootehall, County Roscommon,
Died 7 June 2005 (aged 60)
Letterkenny, County Donegal,
Political party Fianna Fáil
Spouse(s) Maura Doherty

Seán Doherty (29 June 1944 – 7 June 2005), known informally as The Doc, was a controversial Irish Fianna Fáil politician and former Minister for Justice.



Born and raised in Cootehall near Boyle, County Roscommon, he was educated at national level in County Leitrim and then at University College Dublin and King's Inns.

In 1965, Doherty became a member of the Garda Síochána (Irish police force) and served as a Detective in Sligo before joining the Special Branch in Dublin in the early 1970s.

Doherty came from a family which had a long tradition of public service and political involvement in County Roscommon. In 1973 Doherty took a seat on Roscommon County Council, which was vacant after the death of his father.[1][2]

Doherty married Maura Nangle, who is the sister of Irish musician Carmel Gunning. Together they had four daughters, Rachel, Cara, Leah and Evelyn. Rachel is now a councillor serving on Roscommon County Council.

Political career

After serving for four years as a local representative Doherty was selected to be a Fianna Fáil candidate for the Roscommon–Leitrim constituency in general election of 1977. Doherty was one of many Fianna Fáil candidates elected a TD for the first time in what became known as the 1977 general election.


Support of Charles Haughey

In 1979, Doherty was a key member of the so-called "gang of five" which supported Charles Haughey's attempt to take over the leadership of the party. The other members were Albert Reynolds, Mark Killilea, Jnr, Tom McEllistrim and Jackie Fahey.

Haughey was successful in the leadership contest and Doherty was rewarded by being appointed Minister of State at the Department of Justice from 1979 to 1981. In the short-lived 1982 Fianna Fáil government Doherty entered the Cabinet as Minister for Justice. In this post he became involved in a series of controversies.

After Doherty left office it was revealed in The Irish Times that he ordered the tapping of three journalists home telephones. The newspaper also disclosed that he had been interfering in the workings of the Garda and the administration of justice for both political and personal reasons. He immediately resigned from the party; however, he rejoined in 1984. At the 1989 general election his lost his seat in Dáil Éireann to the independent candidate Tom Foxe.

Cathaoirleach of Seanad Éireann

He was also an unsuccessful candidate in the elections on the same day to the European Parliament, but he was later elected instead to the Seanad on the Administrative Panel and became the Cathaoirleach (Chairman) of the 19th Seanad.

End of Haughey term

In January 1992 the phone tapping scandal returned to haunt Fianna Fáil. Doherty announced at a press conference that he had shown transcripts of the conversations to Charles Haughey while Haughey was Taoiseach in 1982. Doherty had previously denied this. Haughey denied the claim also, but was forced to resign from the government, and then resigned as leader of Fianna Fáil. Doherty then regained his seat in the 1992 general election and held it until his retirement at the 2002 general election.


Seán Doherty died at Letterkenny General Hospital of a brain haemorrhage on 7 June 2005 while on a family holiday in County Donegal. On 10 June 2005, Doherty was interred at Ardcarne cemetery in County Roscommon after a funeral mass at St Michael's Church in his native Cootehall.[2][3]


External links

Political offices
Preceded by
Jim Mitchell
Minister for Justice
Mar 1982–Dec 1982
Succeeded by
Michael Noonan
Preceded by
Tras Honan
Cathaoirleach of Seanad Éireann
Succeeded by
Seán Fallon


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