Ian O'Doherty

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Ian O'Doherty
Occupation Columnist, writer, speaker
Television The Late Late Show,
The Frontline
Now It's Personal
Spouse(s) Married

Ian O'Doherty is a columnist who works for the Irish Independent. His "iSpy" column is published Monday – Thursday and contains news articles blended with comedy and shock jock opinions. On Fridays O'Doherty publishes a rather more serious column containing his opinion on a chosen subject in "The World according to Ian O'Doherty". He used to work for the Evening Herald.[1] He was at Hot Press during the "Charlton years".[2]


O'Doherty has appeared on high-profile topical shows such as The Late Late Show and The Frontline. He holds "strong opinions about Ireland's growing Muslim population" and in 2011, he presented the RTÉ documentary Now It's Personal, in which he spent a week living with Muslims, and volunteered to sleep on the floor of a Mosque.[1][3]

Personal life[edit]

O'Doherty is a self-proclaimed atheist, and libertarian.[4] He has been a speaker during at least one Atheist Ireland meeting. Ian O'Doherty has angrily denied that he has a drinking problem.[5]

O'Doherty is a married man.[4] He is a fan of British soap opera Coronation Street.[6] O'Doherty has a loathing for Irish republican music and claims to have been beaten up at a Wolfetones concert.[7] He describes himself as "a huge fan" of the internet, calling it "the most important communication tool since the telephone" but has criticised social networking. Ian O'Doherty has argued strongly to legalise the sale of alcohol on Good Friday.[8] He also says he likes "blokey" things such as "drinking, football, gigs, hanging out with the lads and generally being a bit of a man-child".[9]


O'Doherty's columns have led to complaints to the Irish Independent.[10][11][12]

He has supported for the presence of US troops in the Middle East, equating opposition to this with "cowardice".[13]

In October 2007, he mocked Steve Staunton's physical and mental appearance, referring to "the ways his eyes dart shiftily all over the place and he adopts that rictus grin" before insulting those with a disability by concluding with the taunt, "The Irish Special Olympics football team are looking for a player/ manager – if they'll have you".[14]

O'Doherty wrote a column critical of Sharia law – "I have no respect or tolerance for Sharia", published in December 2007.[15]

In 2010, a column written by O'Doherty was criticised by the editor of Gay Community News for referring to gays as "sexual deviants".[16]

In a February 2011 column he called for so-called "junkies" to be sterilised as he believes it would be better if such people did not reproduce.[17] This article received widespread criticism, as O'Doherty also described drug users as "vermin", "feral worthless scumbags" and claimed he would "cheer if every junkie died."[17] The press ombudsman ordered the article to be removed from the Independent.ie website on the grounds that it was deliberately stirring up hatred against a group of people.[18] Rick Lines, executive director of Harm Reduction International, said the group was "extremely gratified" by the decision to remove the offensive article.[18] "The decision showed that drug users were entitled to protections against hate-type speech in the press".[18]

In January 2014 the Press Ombudsman upheld a complaint against O'Doherty for a column in which he described members of the Roma community as "a parasitic, ethnic underclass". The ombudsman said the article contained "a number of emphatic generalisations about beggars of Roma origin that, in his opinion, were clearly capable of or intended to cause grave offence”.[19]

In October 2015 the Press Ombudsman upheld a complaint against O'Doherty for a column in which he described the Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement as being "loud and shrill in their calls for a complete boycott of individual Israelis, regardless of their own political affiliation” and advocating "blanket boycotts of anything involving Jews." The Ombudsman stated that "the article was factually inaccurate in relation to the two statements" and that "BDS campaigns for a widespread boycott of Israeli institutions and organisations. It does not campaign for a boycott of all Israeli citizens. Neither does BDS campaign for a boycott of 'anything involving Jews'. Its campaign, though widespread in its targets, is limited to a boycott of Israeli State institutions as well as economic, cultural, sporting and academic organisations. It does not extend, as the author claimed, to 'anything involving Jews'." [20]

O'Doherty believes anti-discrimination laws should be removed. Commenting on newstalk he said "the equality laws should be scrapped".[21]

In November 2015 he upset supporters of Liverpool FC by claiming they should have a black armband as part of their regulation kit.[22]


  1. ^ a b Lawlor, David (15 November 2011). "Herald scribe spends a week with Islamic community". Evening Herald. Retrieved 15 November 2011. Former Herald and now Irish Independent columnist Ian O'Doherty, known for his controversial opinions on the country's growing Muslim population, spends a week living among the Islamic community.
  2. ^ O'Doherty, Ian (14 April 2010). "Um, a slight flaw in that thesis..." Irish Independent.
  3. ^ "Now It's Personal". RTÉ.
  4. ^ a b O'Doherty, Ian (25 November 2011). "So have I changed my mind after spending a week with Muslims?". Irish Independent.
  5. ^ CookingBuns (16 November 2011). "Ian O'Doherty" – via YouTube.
  6. ^ O'Doherty, Ian (5 April 2007). "Why Corrie is streets ahead..." Irish Independent. Retrieved 5 April 2007.
  7. ^ Dwyer (28 November 2007). "The Wolfe Tones, Late Late Show Debate, RTE - Part 3" – via YouTube.
  8. ^ O'Doherty, Ian (6 April 2012). "Ian O'Doherty: The issue is not drink – it's being told you can't". Irish Independent.
  9. ^ "Ian O'Doherty: Sometimes it's hard to be a man". Irish Independent. 1 December 2012.
  10. ^ Hughes, Michael (3 May 2005). "Disgusted by Ian's comments". Irish Independent.
  11. ^ McCabe, Ciaran (14 December 2005). "O'Doherty on that march". Irish Independent.
  12. ^ Glennon, Micil (17 September 2008). "Ian O'Doherty is just unelectable". Irish Independent.
  13. ^ O'Doherty, Ian (26 November 2007). "Abuse and slander of US troops is cowardice". Irish Independent. Retrieved 26 November 2007.
  14. ^ O'Doherty, Ian (19 October 2007). "Scorn not his simplicity". Irish Independent. Retrieved 19 October 2007.
  15. ^ Ian O'Doherty (3 December 2007). "I have no respect or tolerance for Sharia". Irish Independent.
  16. ^ "Homosexuality = Bestiality says Ian O'Doherty". GCN. 28 April 2010. Archived from the original on 7 February 2011. Retrieved 21 May 2011.
  17. ^ a b O'Doherty, Ian (18 February 2011). "Sterilising junkies may seem harsh, but it does make sense" (PDF). Irish Independent. Retrieved 18 February 2011. Let's get a few things straight – I hate junkies more than anything else. I hate their greed, their stupidity, their constant sense of self pity, they way they can justify their behaviour, the damage they do to their own family and to others. If every junkie in this country were to die tomorrow I would cheer.
  18. ^ a b c O'Brien, Carl (14 June 2011). "Press body upholds 'vermin' complaint". The Irish Times. Retrieved 14 June 2011. The article by the newspaper's columnist Ian O'Doherty was headlined "Sterilising junkies may seem harsh, but it does make sense" and commented favourably on a suggestion by a doctor that such people should be sterilised.
  19. ^ Hennessy, Michelle. "Ombudsman upholds complaint about article on 'parasitic' Roma beggars".
  20. ^ "Press watchdog vindicates BDS movement over "factually inaccurate" Indo piece - Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign". 27 October 2015.
  21. ^ "The Right Hook - 9th July 2014 Part 2". newstalk. Retrieved 9 July 2014.
  22. ^ Thomas, Joe (8 November 2015). "Journalist claims Liverpool kit should feature permanent black armband".

External links[edit]

Irish Press Ombudsman upholds complaint from coalition of drug services International Harm Reduction Association and Others and The Irish Independent