Seán Doherty (Roscommon politician)
|Minister for Justice|
9 March 1982 – 14 December 1982
|Preceded by||Jim Mitchell|
|Succeeded by||Michael Noonan|
|Cathaoirleach of Seanad Éireann|
1 November 1989 – 23 January 1992
|Preceded by||Tras Honan|
|Succeeded by||Seán Fallon|
29 June 1944|
Cootehall, County Roscommon, Ireland
|Died||7 June 2005
Letterkenny, County Donegal, Ireland
|Political party||Fianna Fáil|
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.
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.
The brother of Seán Doherty's wife Maura, Garda Thomas Nangle, was charged with assaulting James McGovern, a native of County Fermanagh, in a public house in December 1981. On 27 September 1982, hours before the case was due to be heard in the District Court in Dowra, a small village in northwest County Cavan, McGovern was arrested by the Special Branch of the RUC on the basis of entirely false Garda intelligence that he was involved in terrorism. The case against Nangle was dismissed because the principal witness, McGovern, failed to appear in court. The solicitor representing Nangle was Kevin Doherty, Seán Doherty's brother. This 'questionable' use of Garda/RUC Special Branch liaison, set up under the 1985 Hillsborough Anglo-Irish Agreement, prevented meetings between the Garda commissioner and the RUC chief constable for almost three years.
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.
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 at the 1992 general election and held it until his retirement at the 2002 general election.
- Angelique Chrisafis (8 June 2005). "Obituary: Seán Doherty". The Guardian. Retrieved 7 June 2007.
- "Taoiseach leads tributes to ex-minister Doherty". The Irish Times. 6 June 2005. Retrieved 7 June 2007.
- "Mr. Seán Doherty". Oireachtas Members Database. Retrieved 1 January 2013.
- "Thomas Nangle". HoganStand.com. Retrieved 8 March 2011.
- "Rot from the top that ripped the heart out of the gardai". Irish Independent. 1 August 2004. Retrieved 8 March 2010.
- "A Political Life 1979-1987: Charles Haughey". The Irish Times. Retrieved 8 March 2011.
- "Legendary Pol Dies of Hemorrhage". IrishAbroad.com. Retrieved 8 March 2011.
- "Anglo-Irish Security Co-operation: A Dublin Perspective". Retrieved 8 March 2011.
- "Seán Doherty". ElectionsIreland.org. Retrieved 1 January 2013.
- "Former Justice Minister Seán Doherty laid to rest". The Irish Times. 6 June 2005. Retrieved 7 June 2007.
|Minister for Justice
|Cathaoirleach of Seanad Éireann