Kieran Doherty 16 October 1955 – 2 August 1981
Doherty was the third son in a family of six born in Andersonstown, Belfast. He was educated at primary level at St. Theresa's Primary School and at secondary level at Glen Road Christian Brothers School (CBS). The Doherty brothers were known cyclists and sportsmen in the Andersontown area with Kieran winning an Antrim Gaelic football medal at minor level in 1971
In the summer of 1971 internment had burst open the lives of many Andersonstown families. Kieran saw the British army on the streets, his friends and their families harassed. He joined na Fianna Eireann in the autumn of '71. Kieran proved himself to be an outstanding member of the Fianna. Reliable, quick on the job, he was obviously giving the best of himself to every task assigned him with the aim of being noticed and recruited for the IRA as quickly as was possible.
Even at this early stage of his involvement, he is remembered for his initiative and his discreet ways. Unlike some boys of his age, he never boasted about his activities. But the British army soon noticed him too and Kieran, his family, and his home, became a target for frequent British army harassment.
On October 6th, 1972, the British army came to arrest Kieran, despite his father's objection that Kieran was under seventeen. The Brits had checked up, they said, and after a heavy house raid they took Kieran away in the middle of the night. His father got him released eventually after waking up the sexton of St. Agnes' chapel and obtaining Kieran's birth certificate.True to form, on October 16th, the British army were back in force and swamped Kieran's district, waiting for his return from work. But relatives managed to warn him and he was driven over the border to an uncle in Limerick. He did not much enjoy his enforced exile and, bursting to get back into action, he made his way back to Belfast at the beginning of '73.
A week or so later, he was arrested, taken to Castlereagh, and then interned in Long Kesh where he spent over two years from February '73 to November '75. He was among the last internees released. Always even-tempered and quiet-spoken he used his time developing his military skills. In a letter to his mother he wrote: "They might intern all of us, but we will come out fighting."
He made a lot of handicrafts during his two-and-a-half years in captivity.
He was released from Long Kesh in November '75, as undaunted as he sounded in his letters, and reported back to the IRA immediately.In August 1976, while out to set a bomb, the van he was in was chased by the police. During the chase Doherty managed to leave the van and hijack a car but was caught as he was escaping. He was convicted and sentenced to 18 years for possession of firearms and explosives, with another four years for the hijack.Kieran joined the blanket protest immediately .To a friend who visited him after the first hunger strike, which ended last December, Kieran said: "They (the warders) are really rubbing our noses in it. By God, they will not rub mine!"
Asked whether he would not settle down - after all, with five years done and remission, another six years would soon be over. He replied: "Remission has nothing to do with it. There is much more than that involved."
So he went on hunger strike on Friday, May 22nd, having put his name forward for it long ago, as undaunted and full of fighting spirit as when he roamed free on the streets of Andersonstown
While on hunger strike he was elected as an Anti H-Block TD for the Cavan–Monaghan constituency at the 1981 general election.Kieran was elected a member of the Leinster House parliament for the Cavan/Monaghan constituency with 9,121 first preference votes - only 303 votes behind the then-sitting Free State Minister of Education.
He died at the age of 25 after 73 days on hunger strike, the longest of the 1981 hunger strikers, and only one day short of Terence MacSwiney.