Gemma O'Doherty

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Gemma O'Doherty
Gemma O'Doherty 2014.jpg
O'Doherty in 2014
Nationality Irish
Occupation Journalist

Gemma O'Doherty is a multi award-winning Irish investigative journalist, known for her work in exposing corruption in the criminal justice system and the police. Her reporting on the 1985 death of Fr. Niall Molloy brought about a reopening of that case and led to the scandal being described in the Irish parliament as the biggest cover-up in the history of the state. She has also exposed police malpractice in the Mary Boyle case, the Raonaid Murray murder, the Jim Goonan case and others.[1][2][3]

O'Doherty was Chief Features Writer at the Irish Independent where she worked for 16 years until her boss Stephen Rae, a former editor of the Garda Review, sacked her after she exposed the fact that the chief of police Martin Callinan, then head of the Garda Síochána (the national police force), had speeding points wiped.[4][5][6] Her experience led to allegations of a cover-up at the heart of the Irish establishment.[7] Her documentary 'Mary Boyle: The Untold Story' about the cover-up of the rape and murder of Ireland's longest missing person has been viewed almost one million times.


O'Doherty is recognised[8] for her involvement in the investigation into the 1985 death of Fr. Niall Molloy. Her work led to the reopening of that case. According to O'Doherty, the priest's murder 'exposed a cover up of staggering proportions involving several institutions of the State and the Catholic Church.'[9]

While investigating a nationwide penalty points cancellation scandal, O'Doherty sought to question Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan about the quashing of his own speeding points. This action was condemned by her employer and cost O'Doherty her job.[10] Apart from a mention in satirical magazine The Phoenix,[3] O'Doherty's sacking was largely ignored by the Irish mainstream media. It was, however, raised in the underground Irish media,[citation needed] and a blog report brought it to the attention of international media.[citation needed] Among those to condemn the sacking were fellow-journalists in the Toronto Star, Daily Mail and The Guardian.[9] In Ireland, Senator John Gilroy attempted to raise the matter in the Seanad, saying "This case has been reported extensively in international media and social media but it does not seem to have generated any traction in our domestic media. When any journalist is sacked it is noteworthy, but when an investigative journalist of Ms O'Doherty's standing is sacked this must raise great concerns for all democrats".[9] Dáil deputies Joe Higgins and Pádraig Mac Lochlainn also raised the matter.[7]

It later emerged that O'Doherty's former boss Stephen Rae was among those to have had penalty points annulled.[11] This was in turn ignored[11] by the Irish mainstream media and only reported either on social media or internationally.[12][13] Callinan's resignation as Garda Commissioner in March 2014 over remarks that whistleblowers were "disgusting" prompted Professor of Journalism and media commentator Roy Greenslade to deem O'Doherty "vindicated".[14]

In December 2014, the Independent admitted they were wrong to dismiss O'Doherty, and issued an apology to her paying her damages to settle a defamation action in the High Court and a case brought by her to the Employment Appeals Tribunal .[15]


  • 2007 ESB National Media Awards (Print Campaigning and Social Issues)[16]
  • 2011 GSK Irish Medical Media Awards (Consumer Print Media)[17]
  • Shortlisted for 2012 NNI Journalism Awards (Crime & Security Reporter of the Year and Feature Writer of the Year)[18][19]
  • 2012 International Journalism Festival[20]
  • 2016 Award of Recognition in the Women Filmmaker section at the Hollywood Independent Documentary Awards[21]
  • 2016 Award of Excellence in the Feature Documentary section at the Hollywood Independent Documentary Awards[21]
  • 2016 Award of Merit at IndieFEST Film Awards[22]


  1. ^ "Are You A Journalist?". 
  2. ^ "An Interview With John Wilson". Motley Magazine. Archived from the original on 21 December 2014. 
  3. ^ a b "Controversy over firing of leading Irish investigative journalist". The Guardian. 17 September 2013. Retrieved 17 September 2013. 
  4. ^ Michelle Hennessy. "NUJ: Irish Independent journalist's compulsory redundancy is "unfair and unjust"". 
  5. ^ "Firing of Gemma O'Doherty may serve to silence investigative journalists in Ireland". 
  6. ^ "Stephen Rae's Penalty Points and The Silence of Irish Media - Soundmigration". Soundmigration. 
  7. ^ a b Mulhern, Robert (11 October 2013). "The story 'the Irish media don't want you to read'". Irish Post. Retrieved 11 October 2013. 
  8. ^
  9. ^ a b c "British media reacts strongly as leading Irish journalist Gemma O'Doherty forced out of job". Irish Post. 20 September 2013. Retrieved 20 September 2013. 
  10. ^
  11. ^ a b "Ireland's media ignore Irish Independent editor's annulled penalty points". The Guardian. 3 October 2013. 
  12. ^ Mulhern, Robert (28 September 2013). "Wiped penalty points linked to editor involved in Gemma O'Doherty redundancy". Irish Post. Retrieved 28 September 2013. 
  13. ^ "Ireland's media ignore Irish Independent editor's annulled penalty points". 3 October 2013. Retrieved 3 October 2013. 
  14. ^ Greenslade, Roy (25 March 2014). "Irish police chief's resignation vindicates sacked investigative journalist". The Guardian. Retrieved 25 March 2014. 
  15. ^ "Journalist Gemma O'Doherty settles unfair dismissals case against 'Independent'". Irish Times. 2014-12-22. Retrieved 2014-12-22. 
  16. ^
  17. ^ "Home - GSK Ireland". 
  18. ^
  19. ^
  20. ^ "Travel writer walks away with top prize". 
  21. ^ a b "Mary Boyle Documentary wins major film award". 2016-10-27. Retrieved 6 November 2016. 
  22. ^ "Mary Boyle documentary wins awards in Hollywood". 2016-06-04. Retrieved 6 November 2016.