Aengus Ó Snodaigh

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Aengus Ó Snodaigh
TD
Aengus OSnodaigh.JPG
Teachta Dála
Assumed office
May 2002
Constituency Dublin South–Central
Personal details
Born (1964-07-31) 31 July 1964 (age 51)
Dublin, Ireland
Political party Sinn Féin
Spouse(s) Aisling Ní Dálaigh
Alma mater University College Dublin
Profession Teacher

Aengus Ó Snodaigh (born 31 July 1964) is an Irish Sinn Féin politician, author and historian. He has been a Teachta Dála (TD) for the Dublin South–Central constituency since May 2002,[1] and is the party spokesperson on Social Protection and Communities.

Early and private life[edit]

A Dubliner and Irish language speaker, he attended school at Scoil Lorcáin and Coláiste Eoin, before studying at University College Dublin (UCD). Ó Snodaigh joined Sinn Féin while at university, where he was active in student politics, in 1983. He completed a Bachelor of Arts in History and Geography, and a Higher Diploma in Education. Having secured his teaching qualifications, he went on to teach at secondary level and as a literacy teacher in Dublin's inner city.

He is also the editor of Fealsúnacht, Feall agus Fuil which is a collection of historical essays concentrating on the 1798 Rebellion and several pamphlets on aspects of Irish republican history. He is a member of the board of the Ireland Institute, aimed at promoting discussion on Irish republicanism, culture and heritage which restored the Pearse brothers birthplace and original family home at 27 Pearse Street, Dublin, and joint editor of the Institute's journal, The Republic. Ó Snodaigh is the brother of the three Ó Snodaigh brothers in the band Kíla and is the son of the writer and publisher Pádraig Ó Snodaigh and the sculptor Clioḋna Cussen from Newcastlewest, County Limerick. He is married to Aisling Ní Dhálaigh; they live in Bluebell with their three children. He also worked as a journalist, book reviewer and proofreader for An Phoblacht newspaper. In one incident a book-bomb was sent to the office by Ulster loyalist paramilitaries and he carried the device outside the building, where it exploded a short time later, injuring two soldiers.[2]

In April 2014, one of Ó Snodaigh's sons was stabbed and seriously injured. In the same month another one of his sons was reported missing, but was later found unharmed.[3][4]

Political career[edit]

He was first elected to Dáil Éireann at the 2002 general election, having contested a Dáil election in 1987 in Dublin South–East first and a by-election in the Dublin South–Central constituency in 1999.[5] Seven of Ó Snodaigh's election workers were jailed for IRA membership in 2004.[6]

He is currently the Sinn Féin party whip in the Dáil and is spokesperson on Social Protection. He was previously the Sinn Féin representative on the National Forum on Europe and the party's spokesperson on the Treaty of Nice. He was a member of the Dáil Committee on Procedures and Privileges and the Committee on European Affairs in the 29th Dáil. He was re-elected at the 2007 general election. He has been a member of the Sinn Féin national executive, the Ard Chomhairle, for many years, has been on the Dublin executive of the party since 1985, and was part of the party's negotiations team during the Northern Ireland peace process.

Leinster House IRA spy ring[edit]

In 2004, two Sinn Fein election employees Niall Bennett and Keith Donohoe - who worked in Ó Snodaigh's office - were convicted by the Special Criminal Court in Dublin under the Offences against the State Act for spying on high-profile opposition TDs and government ministers. A Garda Special Detective Unit counterintelligence operation resulted in the arrest of Bennett and Donohoe, two of Ó Snodaigh's staff, in October 2002 and during a search of Bennett's Crumlin home detectives recovered information on the movements of the TDs and members of the Government after they left Leinster House obtained by unlawful espionage. The documents contained details of the movements of various politicians including places they frequented, and a list of criminals had been drawn up for targeting by the Provisional IRA for extortion. Bennett was a former secretary of a south Dublin Sinn Féin cumann. Bennett and Donohoe were found guilty of membership of the IRA, a designated terrorist organisation in the Republic of Ireland, and sentenced each to four years in prison.[7]

The arrests coincided with the seizure of two vehicles and the arrest of a number of suspected criminal republicans - in one of the vehicles, a van, detectives found four men together with a number of suspicious items including a sledgehammer, pick-axe handles, eight bags of ties, two-way radios, a black balaclava, rubber gloves and a yellow fluorescent jacket with the word 'Garda' written on it, as well as election posters for Ó Snodaigh. It later emerged that the van had been used during Ó Snodaigh's election campaign. Gardaí were of the belief that this IRA gang was about to carry out a violent crime in an attempt to raise cash for the organisation.[8]

Ó Snodaigh attempted to defend Bennett and Donohoe, criticising the non-jury anti-terror court they were tried in.[8]

Support for Palestine[edit]

Ó Snodaigh is a well known supporter of the Palestinian cause and has in the past been highly critical of the actions of Israel. During the 2009 Gaza–Israel conflict Ó Snodaigh claimed that Alan Shatter, a Fine Gael TD, and the Israeli ambassador to Ireland had exposed the Oireachtas committee on Foreign Affairs to "propaganda, twisted logic and half truths". He also said that Joseph Goebbels, the Nazi propaganda minister, would have been proud of it.[9] On 30 May 2010, he was one of three Irish politicians who were prevented from leaving Cyprus by authorities to join an international flotilla carrying aid to the blockaded Gaza Strip.[10] In March 2011, Ó Snodaigh set off on another flotilla to Gaza. One of his shipmates included former TD and member of Fianna Fáil Chris Andrews.[11]

Expenses controversy[edit]

It was reported in February 2012 that Ó Snodaigh's office had used €50,000 worth of ink cartridges from the Oireachtas between 2007 and 2008.[12]

Curran-Dempsey case[edit]

In 2005, a Dublin-based Provisional IRA commander, Bernard Dempsey, shot and killed local sportsman James Curran. Dempsey had been an election agent for Ó Snodaigh's campaign.[13]

Published works[edit]

  • The Republic: Culture in the Republic, (with Finbar Cullen) Ireland Institute, 2005, ISBN 9781904820017
  • The Rotunda: Birthplace of the Irish Volunteers, Republican Publications, 2013, ISBN 9781782801832

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Mr. Aengus Ó Snodaigh". Oireachtas Members Database. Retrieved 17 October 2009. 
  2. ^ http://www.anphoblacht.com/news/detail/39999
  3. ^ "O Snodaigh's son stabbed 'in row over video game'". Irish Independent. 28 April 2014. Retrieved 24 December 2015. 
  4. ^ "Son (16) of Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD found after going missing". The Irish Times. 29 April 2014. Retrieved 24 December 2015. 
  5. ^ "Aengus Ó Snodaigh". ElectionsIreland.org. Retrieved 17 October 2009. 
  6. ^ "SF man chief suspect in killing". Irish Independent. 10 April 2005. 
  7. ^ Williams, Paul (23 December 2015). "Paul Williams: IRA spy ring watching Leinster House holds the key to Sinn Féin's outlook". Irish Independent. Retrieved 24 December 2015. 
  8. ^ a b "Outrage at Sinn Fein call to free terrorists linked to TD spy ring". Irish Independent. 17 December 2006. Retrieved 24 December 2015. 
  9. ^ "Israeli envoy condemns TD's 'outrageous' Goebbels remark". The Irish Times. 14 January 2009. 
  10. ^ "Delegation blocked from joining Gaza flotilla". RTÉ News. 30 May 2010. Archived from the original on 31 May 2010. Retrieved 30 May 2010. 
  11. ^ "Eoghan Harris". Martin must choose either Fine Fail or Flotilla Fail. 30 January 2011. Retrieved 30 January 2011. 
  12. ^ "Aengus Ó Snodaigh defends ink cartridge use". RTÉ News. 28 February 2012. Retrieved 28 February 2012. 
  13. ^ http://www.independent.ie/national-news/sf-man-chief-suspect-in-killing-466619.html

External links[edit]

Oireachtas
Preceded by
Extra seat added to constituency
Sinn Féin Teachta Dála for Dublin South–Central
2002–present
Incumbent