Pearse Doherty

Pearse Daniel Doherty (born 6 July 1977) is an Irish Sinn Féin politician who has been a Teachta Dála (TD) for the Donegal constituency since the 2016 general election, and previously a TD for the Donegal South-West constituency from 2010 to 2016. He also previously served as a Senator for the Agricultural Panel from 2007 to 2010.[1]

Pearse Doherty

Doherty in April 2015
Deputy Leader of Sinn Féin in the Dáil
(Concurrently Spokesperson for Finance)
Assumed office
PresidentMary Lou McDonald
Teachta Dála
Assumed office
November 2010
ConstituencyDonegal South-West (until 2016)
Donegal (from 2016)
In office
24 July 2007  25 November 2010
ConstituencyAgricultural Panel
Personal details
Born (1977-07-06) 6 July 1977 (age 44)
Glasgow, Scotland
Political partySinn Féin
Róisín Doherty
(m. 2009)
Alma materDublin Institute of Technology
WebsiteOfficial website

Early life

Pearse Daniel Doherty was born in Glasgow on 6 July 1977, the son of Irish parents. When he was three years old, the family returned home to the Irish-speaking town of Gweedore, where he grew up and became fluent in Irish.[2] He enrolled in a civil engineering degree course at Dublin Institute of Technology in 1996. 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] He later resumed his studies by enrolling in another civil engineering course at Letterkenny Institute of Technology, but dropped out in order to run for Dáil Éireann in the 2002 general election.[4]

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 in the Donegal South-West constituency. On 11 June 2004, he ran simultaneously in the local elections for Donegal County Council and in the 2004 European Parliament elections. He failed to win a seat in the European Parliament, but was elected to serve as a member of Donegal County Council for the Glenties local electoral area.[5]

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 as a Senator for the Agricultural Panel on 24 July 2007.[5]

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.[6] 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.[7][8] On 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.

Shortly before the 2011 general election, 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][9]

In that election Doherty topped the poll decisively in Donegal South-West, attaining 33.0% of the first-preference vote.[10]

Doherty represented Sinn Féin in the Oireachtas delegation that met the Bundestag's Budgetary and European Affairs committees in Berlin in late January 2012.[11]

It was revealed in June 2012, that 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.[12] A report found that he had not breached any expense rules, and cleared him of any wrongdoing.[13]

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.[14]

He topped the poll at the 2020 general election, and was appointed leader of Sinn Féin's negotiations team.[15]

Personal life

Doherty continues to reside in Gweedore. He is married to Róisín, a school teacher from County Monaghan. They have four sons.[16]


  1. "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. "Sinn Féin's Doherty forced to clarify job qualifications". 3 February 2011. Retrieved 3 February 2011.
  5. "Pearse Doherty". Retrieved 3 July 2009.
  6. "Bye-election judicial review is allowed". RTÉ News. 12 July 2010. Retrieved 12 July 2010.
  7. "Sinn Féin to demand date for by-election". Ocean FM. 11 January 2010. Retrieved 24 January 2010.[permanent dead link]
  8. "Live updates: Donegal by-election count". RTÉ News. 26 November 2010.
  9. Kerr, ine (4 February 2011). "Doherty 'pulls a Bertie' with his engineer claim". Irish Independent. Retrieved 5 February 2011.
  10. "Election 2011: National Summary". RTÉ News. 28 February 2011. Archived from the original on 3 September 2011.
  11. "Oireachtas delegation in Bundestag meeting". RTÉ News. 26 January 2012. Retrieved 26 January 2012.
  12. "How Sinn Féin TDs are breaking the rules on expenses". Irish Independent. 20 June 2012.
  13. Gavan Reilly. "Oireachtas confirms Pearse Doherty did NOT breach expenses rules".
  14. "Donegal count: Independent Thomas Pringle takes final seat". The Irish Times. 28 February 2016. Retrieved 29 February 2016.
  15. "Pearse Doherty to lead Sinn Féin negotiations team". Donegal News. 11 February 2020. Retrieved 21 February 2020.
  16. "Doherty has another date marked in his calender [sic]". Irish Independent. 14 May 2012.