IRA Volunteer Kieran Doherty
Kieran was born the 18th of 1955 in the Andersonstown district of West Belfast. He was one of six children to a large working class family. Having a normal childhood, Kieran excelled in sport. He received an Antrim minor metal for GAA
while playing for St. Theresa's GAC.
Kieran and his brothers took up cycling and formed a club within their church. St. Thomas' cycling club would later be ruined by internment. There would be so many of Andytown's boys behind the wire that Brendan Dohery would ask his mother when it would be his "turn to go where the big boys go."
In the summer of 1971, Kieran began an apprenticeship as a heating engineer but never finished because the firm he was working with closed down only months after he had begun. After that, he joined his father as a floor tile worker.
Following the hardest wave of internment, Kieran became disgusted with the treatment of his peers and family members at the hands of the Brits. He had never before been interested in politics, but in 1971 he joined Na Fianna Eireann
, the Republican youth movementt. He soon excelled as a member of that organisation and put him self forth to be recruited by the IRA.
The Provisional IRA members in his area did take notice to Kieran but so did the Brits and soon his family became a constant target for harassment. In October of 1972, he was drug away in the middle of the night by the British who ignored pleas by his parents that he was under 17. They later took a copy of his birth certificate down to the local barracks and forced the Brits to release him.
The Brits were ten days to early; but they were promptly back on the 16th to intern Kieran. He was warned by relativess in the area on his way home from work and hitched a ride to Limerick until the heat came down a bit. He hated being away from Belfast and was back on active duty after Christmas.
Less then a month back, he was arrested and taken to Castlereagh for questioning. After the typical three day questioning period, Kieran was interred in Long Kesh. He would be one of the last internees released in 1975, spending nearly two full years in the cages.
Seething at his imprisonment, he spent his time in lock up fine-tuning his military mind. He took part in the burning of a number of buildings and huts in the concentration camp in October of 1974. Released in November 1975, he immediately reported back to his unit. He joined up with a team of Volunteers from around Rossnareen which gave the Brits in Andytown many sleepless for a full six months until a wave of arrests nearly wiped out the whole unit.
Known by his comrades and friends as "Big Doc," Kieran helped to grind down the Brits in his area. As an active operator, he is remembered as a careful perfectionist who gavehisi comrades a feeling of safety during operations.
Kieran was picked up in August 1976 after an operation against the RUC, completely unarmed. He was alter charged with posession of firearms and explosives and auto theft. The first two charges had no legal merit at all, and the man testifying against Kieran perjured on both counts to see Big Doc convicted in the juryless courts.
Put on remand in Crumlin Road Jail, he met and became friends with Francis Hughes
. Each had great admiration for the other and friends remember the striking similarities in their personalities. They were always defiant and never would give up.
He was sentenced to 18 years for the charges brought against him. Upon entering Long Kesh in January 1978, he immediately joined the blanket and no-wash protests. He spent nearly 3 years on the blanket and only came off when the hungerstrike began. In the H-Blocks he is remembered as being ever defiant to the warders; refusing to acknowledge them as having any authority.
Not surprising to anyone who knew or fought alongside Kieran, he joined the hungerstrike following the deaths of Patsy O'Hara
and Ray McCreesh
on May 22nd. On June 9th, Kieran stood as a candidate for the Cavan/Monaghan constituency and was elected as a TD. On August 2nd, 1981, Kieran Doherty died after 73 days refusing food. He died for his belief in justice for all Irishmen. He died defiant and unbroken by British oppression.
Hungerstrike Commemorative Page