Niall Ó Donnghaile

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Niall Ó Donnghaile
Niall Ó Donnghaile (cropped).jpg
Niall Ó Donnghaile in 2016.
Assumed office
27 April 2016
Constituency Administrative Panel
56th Lord Mayor of Belfast
In office
Preceded by Pat Convery
Succeeded by Gavin Robinson
Councillor on Belfast City Council
In office
Constituency Pottinger, Belfast East
Personal details
Born (1985-05-28) 28 May 1985 (age 31)
Belfast, Northern Ireland
Nationality Irish
Political party Sinn Féin
Education Colaiste Feirste
Alma mater University of Ulster

Niall Ó Donnghaile [ˈnʲiəl̪ˠ oː ˈd̪ˠɔn̪ˠɣalʲə] (born 28 May 1985) is a Sinn Féin politician and member of the Senate of Ireland, Seanad Éireann. He was the 56th Lord Mayor of Belfast and was elected to Seanad Éireann's Administrative Panel in 2016.[1]

He was born in Belfast, Northern Ireland. Ó Donnghaile is a Sinn Féin councillor for the Pottinger ward in Belfast East.[2] He was educated through Irish, which he speaks fluently, and is a politics graduate. A full-time Sinn Féin councillor, Ó Donnghaile was previously employed as the party's Press Officer in the Northern Ireland Assembly.[3][4]

A community worker in the Short Strand, the area of East Belfast in which he was born, and is 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.[2]

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.[5]

Ó Donnghaile said he wanted to represent all the people of Belfast. Ruth Patterson, of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), became Deputy Lord Mayor. Controversially, she refused to talk to him or shake his hand. Her party backed her in this decision.[6]

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". However, Unionist councillors demanded that the two royal portraits be put back.[7]

In December 2011 he refused to present an award to a Belfast girl who was a member of the British Army cadets. Ó Donnghaile 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".[8]


  1. ^ 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. 
  2. ^ a b "South and East Belfast: Cllr. Niall Ó Donnghaile (Pottinger)". Retrieved 2012-06-02. 
  3. ^ "BBC News – DUP backs Ruth Patterson over Sinn Fein mayor snub". 27 May 2011. Retrieved 2 June 2012. 
  4. ^ "Niall O Donnghaile profile". The Guardian. 16 November 2011. Retrieved 2 June 2012. 
  5. ^ "Sinn Fein man is Belfast's youngest Mayor". Retrieved 2 June 2012. 
  6. ^ "DUP backs Ruth Patterson over Sinn Fein mayor snub", BBC News, 27 May 2011; retrieved 1 June 2013.
  7. ^ "SF mayor removes royal portraits". UTV News, 10 June 2011; retrieved 1 June 2013.
  8. ^ "BBC News – Sinn Fein mayor slammed over failure to present award to army cadet". 29 November 2011. Retrieved 2 June 2012. 
Civic offices
Preceded by
Pat Convery
Lord Mayor of Belfast
Succeeded by
Gavin Robinson