Death of Mrs. Doherty, Mother of Hunger Striker Kieran Doherty

Posted By: August 09, 2019

Fr. McManus extended his condolences to the Doherty family on the death of Mrs. Doherty and explained:” I had the honor and privilege of being of a little service to the Doherty family when Kieran died. When his body was brought back to his home, I attended his Wake. I was asked if I would say a prayer and lead a Decade of The Rosary. I replied, of course,  if that is the wish of Kieran’s parents and colleagues. I was assured it was, and I led the packed home in the Glorious Mystery of The Resurrection. I concluded by blessing  with the ‘Sign of the Cross’ Kieran’s body, ending with,’God rest his brave and noble Irish soul.’

On leaving the Doherty home, I said hello to Gerry Adams for the first time and shook his hand.”

Fr. Mc Manus continued:” I was accompanied to the Wake by the late Dennis Dillon, District Attorney, Nassau County, NY and Peter King, the future Congressman. Both men were in Belfast with me because the Irish National Caucus had brought them to Ireland (paying their way and accommodation) for a conference on Plastic Bullets, organized by the late Fr. Denis Faul. (Peter King told me this was his very first visit to Ireland). The following day, all three of us attended the funeral of Kieran Doherty.”
After we left the hotel in West Belfast where the three of us were staying, the hotel was blown up. The manager of the hotel would call me later when I was back in Washington, telling me that the Irish National Caucus check which I had used to pay of Dillon’s and King’s stay had been destroyed in the explosion. And, of course, I sent him a new check.
—Fr. Sean McManus.


Hunger striker’s mother lived very ‘diverse, full life’
Mourners gathered in west Belfast yesterday for the funeral of Margaret Doherty, who was the mother of hunger striker, Kieran Doherty. 

Marie Louise McConville. Irish News. Belfast. Friday, 9, 2019

Mourners gathered in west Belfast yesterday for the funeral of Margaret Doherty, who was the mother of hunger striker, Kieran Doherty. 

Kieran Doherty died during the 1981 Hunger Strike

Margaret Doherty, who was a great-great-grandmother, died in hospital on Sunday – just two days after the 38th anniversary of her son’s death.

Kieran Doherty died on August 2, 1981, at the age of 25 after 73 days on hunger strike.

Shortly before his death, he was elected TD for Cavan-Monaghan.

Yesterday, mourners gathered at St Agnes’ Church for Requiem Mass for Mrs. Doherty, who lived in Andersonstown.

Fr Thomas McGlynn said the mother-of-six had lived a “very full and diverse life”.

“Her early life was centered around home, family, school, and Church, as was typical of so many young women of her generation. Also, Sunday School and the Salvation Army, which helped develop a great love of music and singing,” he said.

“She also had a great love of dancing and it was through dancing that she met and fell in love with Alfie.

“As a Catholic from the Falls Road and Margaret, as a Protestant from the Shankill, their backgrounds were very different but love always transcends boundaries and differences, and Margaret, entirely of her own volition, decided to become a Catholic, receiving instruction from the much loved Fr Arthurs at Clonard Monastery.”

Fr McGlynn said Mrs. Doherty had been “determined” to support her son, Kieran.

“Margaret led a very full and diverse life but perhaps of all the things she had to face up to, the most demanding was in 1981 when, with nine families, whose sons were also on hunger strike, between May and August, it forced families, parents and perhaps, let’s be honest, most particularly mothers, into the spotlight,” he said.

“Margaret was determined, as were all families at that time, to support Kieran and their sons in their decision.”

Speaking at the funeral, Gerry Adams TD described Mrs. Doherty as “a fine singer” and someone who was “always welcoming with a wonderful sense of humor”.

“I had the great privilege to know Margaret and her late husband Alfie for many years,” he said.

“They were people of immense courage, who bore with great fortitude and resilience the enormous trauma of the 1981 hunger strike.

“When I visited the prison hospital 29 July 1981 I had the opportunity to speak to Kieran and to his parents Margaret and Alfie and his brother Michael. Kieran was close to death but determined to make his stand against Britain’s criminalization policy. It was an agonizing time for his parents and siblings who campaigned tirelessly on behalf of the  political prisoners.”

Mr. Adams added: “In the years after the hunger strike Margaret and Alfie retained a very special relationship with the people of Cavan/ Monaghan who had elected Kieran as a TD.”

Mrs. Doherty was laid to rest in The Rock Cemetery following Requiem Mass.