Niall Ó Donnghaile

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Niall Ó Donnghaile
Leader of Sinn Féin in the Seanad
Assumed office
29 June 2020
LeaderMary Lou McDonald
Preceded byRose Conway-Walsh
Assumed office
8 June 2016
ConstituencyAdministrative Panel
68th Lord Mayor of Belfast
In office
5 June 2011 – 6 June 2012
DeputyRuth Patterson
Preceded byPat Convery
Succeeded byGavin Robinson
Member of
Belfast City Council
In office
5 May 2011 – 27 April 2016
Preceded byReg Empey
Succeeded byConstituency abolished
Personal details
Born (1985-05-28) 28 May 1985 (age 38)
Belfast, Northern Ireland
Political partySinn Féin
EducationColáiste Feirste
Alma materUniversity of Ulster

Niall Ó Donnghaile (Irish pronunciation: [ˈn̠ʲiəl̪ˠ ˈd̪ˠɔn̪ˠɣalʲə]; born 28 May 1985) is an Irish Sinn Féin politician who has served as Leader of Sinn Féin in the Seanad since June 2020 and a Senator for the Administrative Panel since April 2016.[1] He previously served as Lord Mayor of Belfast from 2011 to 2012 and a Councillor on Belfast City Council from 2011 to 2016.[2]

Early life and career[edit]

He was born in Belfast, Northern Ireland. Ó Donnghaile was a Sinn Féin councillor for the Pottinger district electoral area in East Belfast.[3] He was educated through Irish at Coláiste Feirste, Belfast and subsequently obtained a B.A. in Politics from Ulster University.[4]

Ó Donnghaile was previously employed as the party's Press Officer in the Northern Ireland Assembly.[5][6]

A community worker in the Short Strand, the area of East Belfast in which he was born, and a member of the Short Strand Partnership Board, he also works with various other organisations in Belfast on issues such as the developments at Titanic Quarter and Sirocco Quays, and has spoken strongly in support of residents on the issue of the proposed runway extension at Belfast City Airport.[3]

Lord Mayor of Belfast[edit]

Ó Donnghaile became Lord Mayor of Belfast in June 2011. Aged 25 at the time, he was the city's youngest ever Lord Mayor.[7]


After taking office, he removed portraits of Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother and Prince Charles from the Mayor's parlour, replacing them with a portrait of the United Irishmen and a copy of the Proclamation of the Irish Republic. He kept portraits of Elizabeth II and Prince Philip on display. He said he did this to make the parlour "more reflective of Belfast". Unionist councillors demanded that the two royal portraits be put back.[8]

In December 2011, he declined to present an award to a Belfast girl who was a British Army cadet. He explained: "At the last minute I was informed that one of the awards was to be presented to a representative of the Army Cadet Force [...] to avoid any unnecessary sensitivities to either party, it was arranged for the outgoing chairman of the organisation to present some of the certificates alongside me".[9]


  1. ^ "Niall Ó Donnghaile". Oireachtas Members Database. Retrieved 14 July 2019.
  2. ^ @OireachtasNews (28 April 2016). "Seanad Éireann – Result of the 5th Count & State of Poll – Irwin, Jonathan eliminated #25thSeanad #seeforyourself" (Tweet). Retrieved 28 April 2016 – via Twitter.
  3. ^ a b "South and East Belfast: Cllr. Niall Ó Donnghaile (Pottinger)". Archived from the original on 27 March 2012. Retrieved 2 June 2012.
  4. ^ "Niall Ó Donnghaile". Retrieved 4 December 2018.
  5. ^ "BBC News – DUP backs Ruth Patterson over Sinn Féin mayor snub". 27 May 2011. Retrieved 2 June 2012.
  6. ^ "Niall O Donnghaile profile". The Guardian. 16 November 2011. Retrieved 2 June 2012.
  7. ^ "Sinn Féin man is Belfast's youngest Mayor". Belfasttelegraph. Retrieved 2 June 2012.
  8. ^ "SF mayor removes royal portraits". UTV News. 10 June 2011. Retrieved 1 June 2013.
  9. ^ "Sinn Féin mayor slammed over failure to present award to army cadet". BBC News. 29 November 2011. Retrieved 2 June 2012.

External links[edit]

Civic offices
Preceded by
Pat Convery
Lord Mayor of Belfast
Succeeded by