Monday, 23 January 2017

Michelle O'Neill's 'republican pedigree'

Michelle O'Neill MLA
Sinn Fein MLA Michelle O'Neill was born in Clonoe in county Tyrone on 10 January 1977 and was educated at St Patrick's Academy in Dungannon.  Afterwards she became a constituency worker for Francie Molloy MLA.  She was elected to Dungannon and South Tyrone Council in 2005 and then elected to the Northern Ireland Assembly in March 2007 in the constituency of Mid Ulster.  Michelle comes from a family with a strong republican pedigree but it is something about which very little is written, except in the pages of An Phoblacht.

She was born Michelle Doris and was a daughter of the late Brendan Doris and his wife Kathleen.  Brendan Doris, who died in January 2006, was a Sinn Fein councillor and member of the Provisional IRA.  At the time there was a tribute to him in An Phoblacht by Francie Molloy, for whom Michelle worked, and it helps to explain what is meant when some journalists refer to her 'republican pedigree'.
Brendan like many other joined the IRA.  He was arrested and spent time in Crumlin Road Jail on remand, Armagh Jail for a short time, Long Kesh and Magilligan.  Brendan was not easily deterred and was regularly involved in confrontations with the screws.
Brendan was released in 1976 and returned to the struggle.  He married Kathleen and had two children, Michelle and Brian, of whom he was very proud.
He was elected to the Dungannon Council along with Volunteer Martin McCaughey. 
So as well as being a Sinn Fein councillor her father was a member of the East Tyrone Brigade of the Provisional IRA, which was one of the most active units of the terrorist organisation.

Paul Doris - NORAID
For many years her uncle Paul Doris was the chief-fundraiser for NORAID, the Irish-American support group for the IRA.  He became national president of NORAID in 1996 and in 2016 he was chief marshal for the St Patrick's Day parade in New York.

On 26 March 1997 a member of the Provisional IRA threw a bomb at the RUC station in Coalisland. During the attack Gareth Doris was shot and then taken to hospital where he was arrested.  He recovered and was sentenced to ten years in prison before being released in 200 under the Belfast Agreement.  Gareth Doris was a cousin of Michelle's father Brendan Doris.

Tony Doris, another relative, was a member of the Provisional IRA.  On 3 June 1991 he was a member of a three-man IRA murder gang on its way to shoot an off-duty member of the UDR.  However the three terrorists were killed by the SAS at Coagh while they were on their way to shoot the part-time member of the UDR.

Yes I think we can agree with Eamonn Mallie when he wrote that 'Michelle O'Neill comes from a pedigreed republican Tyrone family'.

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