Seán Ó Fearghaíl

Seán Ó Fearghaíl (pronounced [ˈʃaːn̪ˠ oː ˈfʲaɾˠɣiːlʲ]; born 17 April 1960) is an Irish Fianna Fáil politician who has served as the Ceann Comhairle of Dáil Éireann since March 2016. He has been a Teachta Dála (TD) for the Kildare South constituency since 2002. He was a Senator for the Agricultural Panel from 2000 to 2002.[1]

Seán Ó Fearghaíl

Ó Fearghaíl in 2020
Ceann Comhairle of Dáil Éireann
Assumed office
10 March 2016
DeputyPat "the Cope" Gallagher
Catherine Connolly
Preceded bySeán Barrett
Teachta Dála
Assumed office
May 2002
ConstituencyKildare South
In office
13 June 2000  20 May 2002
ConstituencyAgricultural Panel
Personal details
Born (1960-04-17) 17 April 1960 (age 61)
Newbridge, County Kildare, Ireland
Political partyFianna Fáil
Spouse(s)Mary Clare Meaney (m. 1997)
Alma materDublin City University
Ó Fearghaíl's constituency office, Kildare

Life and career

Ó Fearghaíl comes from a farming background, and previously worked for Dublin Corporation. He was elected as a member of Kildare County Council in 1985. He first stood for election to Dáil Éireann in the Kildare constituency at the 1987 general election, but was unsuccessful.[2] He was unsuccessful again at the 1989 general election.

After further defeats at the 1992 and 1997 general elections, he stood for Seanad Éireann in 1997, as a candidate before the Agricultural Panel, but he was again unsuccessful in seeking election. He won a seat in the 21st Seanad following a by-election held in June 2000, after the death of Senator Patrick McGowan.[3]

Ó Fearghaíl won a Dáil seat on his fifth attempt following the 2002 general election, when he defeated the sitting Fine Gael TD Alan Dukes.[2] At the 2007 general election, he topped the poll and was elected on the first count. He was re-elected at the 2011 general election and at the 2016 general election.

He was the Fianna Fáil party whip and Spokesperson on Foreign Affairs and Trade from April 2011 to July 2012. In July 2012, he was appointed as Spokesperson on Constitutional Reform, Arts and Culture, and Defence, while retaining the post of party whip. Ó Fearghaíl sent Éamon Ó Cuív a letter gagging him during the European Fiscal Compact referendum campaign, after Ó Cuív expressed his own opinion of the Compact against the party's wishes.[4]

He was elected as Ceann Comhairle of Dáil Éireann, by its members, at the first sitting of the 32nd Dáil on 10 March 2016.[5] This was the first time the position was filled by secret ballot. He was re-elected to the position at the first sitting of the 33rd Dáil on 20 February 2020.[6][7]

In 2018 he warned Teachtaí Dála and Senators that contact with Taiwan would "offend the Chinese government", and could damage Ireland’s business and diplomatic relationship with China.[8]


  1. "Seán Ó Fearghaíl". Oireachtas Members Database. Retrieved 11 January 2019.
  2. "Seán Ó Fearghail". Retrieved 22 November 2007.
  3. "Members of the 21st Seanad 1997–2002". Office of the Houses of the Oireachtas. Retrieved 22 November 2007.
  4. "Ó Cuív say he will remain in Fianna Fáil". BBC News. 8 May 2012.
  5. "Here's the first ever Ceann Comhairle to be elected by secret ballot". Retrieved 28 February 2020.
  6. "Selection of the Ceann Comhairle". Retrieved 28 February 2020.
  7. "Seán Ó Fearghaíl has been re-elected Ceann Comhairle of Dáil Éireann". Retrieved 28 February 2020.
  8. Leahy, Pat. "TDs are warned contact with Taiwan 'will offend China'". The Irish Times. Retrieved 9 May 2021.