Stephen Donnelly

Stephen Donnelly (born 14 December 1975) is an Irish Fianna Fáil politician who has been a Teachta Dála (TD) for the Wicklow constituency since the 2011 general election.[3]

Stephen Donnelly

Teachta Dála
Assumed office
February 2011
Leader of the Social Democrats
with Catherine Murphy and Róisín Shortall
In office
15 July 2015  5 September 2016
Personal details
Born (1975-12-14) 14 December 1975
Delgany, County Wicklow, Ireland
Political partyFianna Fáil (since 2017)[1]
Other political
Social Democrats (2015–2016) Independent
(2011–2015, 2016–2017)
Spouse(s)Susan Leavy (m. 2005)[2]
Alma mater

At first an Independent, he became co-founder and joint leader of the Social Democrats, and stood successfully for that party at the 2016 general election.[4] He left the Social Democrats on 5 September 2016,[5] and acted as an independent prior to joining Fianna Fáil in February 2017.[1]

Personal life and career

Donnelly is a graduate of University College Dublin (UCD) with a degree in mechanical engineering. He also worked and studied in the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). In 2000, Donnelly moved to London, where he worked as a management consultant with McKinsey & Company.

In 2008, he completed a master's degree in Public Administration in International Development at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government.[6] He returned to work for McKinsey and Company, in Dublin, before deciding to run for office in 2011.

Donnelly lives in Greystones, County Wicklow, with his wife and three sons.

Political career

Donnelly is a member of the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Finance, Public Expenditure and Reform and part of the Irish delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE).

In October 2012, he addressed Martin Schulz, President of the European Parliament, in Dáil Éireann, on behalf of the technical group, saying: "€67 billion is being borrowed from the troika, virtually all of which is going into the banks and almost the same amount is being given by the banks to the senior bondholders in terms of forgone losses. This is what has happened: there has been a €67 billion circle of money from the troika through Ireland to the international banks and investors… I thank Mr. Schulz for his support and I hope he will be able to bring this simple message back: Ireland did not get a bailout and Ireland is not looking for aid or benevolence. We need our money back in order that we can contribute to the recovery of Europe."[7]

Miriam Lord of The Irish Times made Donnelly her 2012 Politician of the Year, owing to his contributions on the post-2008 Irish banking crisis.[8]

Independent and Social Democrats

Stephen Donnelly entered political life being elected as an Independent TD at the 2011 general election. On 15 July 2015, Donnelly launched the Social Democrats, becoming co-leader along with former Labour Party TD Róisín Shortall and former Independent TD Catherine Murphy.[9] Donnelly left the party on 5 September 2016, citing difficulty in working with his two co-leaders.[5] After leaving the Social Democrats, Donnelly spent the next five months as an Independent TD again for Wicklow.

Fianna Fáil

In February 2017, Donnelly announced that he was joining Fianna Fáil.[10] Upon joining, Donnelly said that he believed Fianna Fáil to be "the best team that most closely align with my politics who I believe are taking these challenges very seriously". During a 2017 radio interview Donnelly was questioned about a previous newspaper column, in which, after paraphrasing an unnamed person about Fianna Fáil's perceived problems and "lack of accountability", Donnelly wrote that he "hate[d] it when the cynics are right".[11] Donnelly initially said that he did not know where the host was quoting from - later stating: "I stand corrected".[11] He was appointed party spokesperson for Brexit.[12] In a Front-Bench reshuffle in March 2018 he was appointed Fianna Fáil spokesperson on Health.[13]


  1. Leahy, Pat (2 February 2017). "Wicklow TD Stephen Donnelly to join Fianna Fáil, party says". Irish Times.
  2. Sheridan, Kathy (14 February 2011). "No vanity protest from Independent emboldened by arrival of the IMF". Irish Times.
  3. "Stephen Donnelly". Oireachtas Members Database. Retrieved 17 March 2019.
  4. "Stephen Donnelly". Retrieved 20 October 2011.
  5. Doyle, Kevin (5 September 2016). "'Some partnerships simply don't work' - Stephen Donnelly quits Social Democrats in major blow for party". Irish Independent. Retrieved 5 September 2016.
  6. "About Stephen". Retrieved 20 October 2011.
  7. "Dáil debates". Retrieved 4 October 2012.
  8. Lord, Miriam (22 December 2012). "My Christmas crackers and festive turkeys". The Irish Times.
  9. O'Connor, Niall (15 July 2015). "New Social Democrats group pledge to abolish water charges and repeal the Eighth Amendment". Irish Independent.
  10. "Stephen Donnelly is joining Fianna Fáil but he hasn't always been the party's biggest fan". Journal. 2 February 2017. Retrieved 2 February 2017.
  11. "Stephen Donnelly gets tongue tied as he denies writing Sunday Independent column". Irish Independent. 2 February 2017.
  12. "I'm joining FF to make a difference". Irish Examiner. 2 February 2017.
  13. Bardon, Sarah (29 March 2018). "Fianna Fáil reshuffle: Dara Calleary appointed deputy leader". Irish Times. Retrieved 7 April 2018.
Preceded by
Joe Behan
Teachta Dála for Wicklow
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