Pat Doherty and wife Mary to be honoured at a special event

THE only Donegal politician to be involved in historic talks which led to peace in Northern Ireland is to be honoured with his wife at a special event in Letterkenny.

Pat Doherty, former Sinn Féin vice-president, will be honoured along with his wife Mary ‘for a lifetime of Republican struggle’ at Mount Errigal Hotel on September 30. The event is being organised by Sinn Féin’s Donegal Comhairle Ceantair.

Mr Doherty, now 78, served in his role as vice-president of Sinn Féin from 1998-2009. The Carrigart man was the abstentionist Member of Parliament for West Tyrone from 2001 to 2017, when he retired from politics.


He is to be recognised for his “unwavering commitment” to the pursuit of peace and his “tireless efforts” to create a united Ireland and inclusive society which has earned him both praise and admiration from supporters and political opponents.

“Throughout his tenure as Vice President of Sinn Féin, Pat Doherty consistently demonstrated his commitment to achieving peace and reconciliation in Ireland.

“He played a pivotal role in the historic Good Friday Agreement and his ability to foster dialogue and build bridges across communities was instrumental in reaching a consensus, demonstrating his deep-rooted belief in the power of dialogue and negotiation.

“Pat’s ability to navigate the often-challenging landscape of peace negotiations showcased his skilful diplomacy and unwavering dedication to finding resolutions that brought lasting benefits to all,” Donegal Sinn Féin has said.

Mr Doherty’s wife Mary was born in Castlebar. She returned to Donegal in 1967 from Glasgow just after World War 2. The couple have five children. Mary returned to education as a mature student, obtaining a Masters in Irish History and Politics from University of Ulster, Magee.

Mr Doherty was a key player in talks which led to the historic Good Friday Agreement in 1998, engaging in often difficult discussions with both the Irish and British governments.

In a wide-ranging interview with the Donegal News in April to mark the 25th anniversary of the signing of the landmark agreement, Mr Doherty reflected upon what the historic peace deal has meant for this county, the island of Ireland, and what he considered were its successes and shortcomings.


He said the agreement was carried with huge euphoria and much expectation, but red lines emerged on the issues of weapons and prisoners. He described the lack of investment in Donegal and border counties as a “disgrace”.

“The biggest disappointment to me was the lack of economic inward investment into the six counties and into the north west. It is a disgrace that when you look at a map of Tyrone, Donegal and Fermanagh that there is no rail service.

“The lack of economic investment has been disappointing because people deserve a better standard of living.

“This is a continuation of the internal turmoil within Unionism, which is not good for them and it is certainly not good for the Irish people. It will work its way out. It will take time and patience,” he said.

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