Regina Doherty (born 26 January 1971) is a former Irish Fine Gael politician[1] who has served as Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection since June 2017. She was a Teachta Dála (TD) for the Meath East constituency from 2011 to 2020. She previously served as Government Chief Whip from 2016 to 2017.[2]

Regina Doherty
Regina Doherty, 2015.jpg
Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection
Assumed office
14 June 2017
TaoiseachLeo Varadkar
Preceded byLeo Varadkar
Government Chief Whip
In office
6 May 2016 – 14 June 2017
TaoiseachEnda Kenny
Preceded byPaul Kehoe
Succeeded byJoe McHugh
Teachta Dála
In office
February 2011 – February 2020
ConstituencyMeath East
Personal details
Born (1971-01-26) 26 January 1971 (age 49)
Finglas, Dublin, Ireland
Political partyFine Gael
Spouse(s)Declan Doherty (m. 1999)
Alma mater



Doherty was a member of the Meath County Council for the Dunshaughlin electoral area from 2009 to 2011.[3] She was a member of the Oireachtas committees for Health, Finance and the implementation of the Good Friday Agreement during the 31st Dáil. She was also a member of the Constitutional Convention,[4] and was the Chairperson of the Fine Gael committee for health and children. In May 2015, following the claims of IRA involvement of the cover-up of sexual abuse by Máiría Cahill, she was provided[by whom?] with names of a number of alleged abusers which she passed on to the Gardaí who are investigating the issue.[5] She was re-elected to the Dáil at the 2016 general election. She was appointed to the new Dáil reform committee on 22 March 2016.[6] Following the formation of a Fine Gael minority government in May 2016, Doherty was appointed to the cabinet as Government Chief Whip.[7]

In July 2017, Doherty confirmed[8] that she had lodged a complaint with the Garda Síochána against political blogger and academic Catherine Kelly. Kelly said that she was cautioned by Gardaí about her social media posts and online articles,[9] which referenced Regina Doherty.[10] In the Dáil it was stated that a US based academic experienced a "sinister and chilling experience" in an Irish airport where she was detained by gardaí and told not to tweet about Ms Doherty or publish any material relevant to her again.[11] On 14 June 2017, she was appointed Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection, by Taoiseach Leo Varadkar. In September 2017, it was revealed that she was going to repay an "unlawful" allowance of €15,800 that she received as Government Chief Whip in direct contravention of the law which states that “no allowance can be paid to a party whip if the person is a Minister or Minister of State”.[12]

In January 2018, Doherty announced the launch of the consultation process under the review of the Gender Recognition Act 2015, to further expanding the Gender Recognition Act to include those under 18 and non-binary people.[13] In May 2018, Doherty participated in the Opening Plenary Session - Listening Today for Better Social Policies Tomorrow, in the OECD Policy forum in Canada.[14]

In January 2019, Doherty briefed the Irish Cabinet, warning that while her department was well fixed to pass emergency legislation to continue social welfare payments in the event of Brexit, the UK may not be. It is understood that the British Government has agreed in principle to continue all payments, although the then Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, Amber Rudd, has been unable to guarantee that the necessary legislation will be passed by 29 March 2019.[15] Also in January 2019, Doherty was appointed director of elections for Fine Gael for the 2019 European elections.[16]


In January 2013, her IT consultancy company went into liquidation with debts of €280,000, including €60,000 due to the Revenue Commissioners.[17]


  1. ^ "Regina Doherty". Fine Gael. Retrieved 14 January 2020.
  2. ^ "Regina Doherty". Oireachtas Members Database. Retrieved 27 September 2011.
  3. ^ "Regina Doherty". Retrieved 27 February 2011.
  4. ^
  5. ^
  6. ^
  7. ^ "Regina Doherty of Meath East is the new Chief Whip",, 6 May 2016
  8. ^ "Doherty protests blogger to gardai" 3 July 2017
  9. ^ "Chilling", 3 July 2017
  10. ^ "Kelly is reported to be considering legal action over Garda caution at airport"
  11. ^ "The Dáil has heard that a US based academic experienced a "sinister and chilling experience" in an Irish airport last week."
  12. ^ Regina Doherty to repay €15,800 allowance
  13. ^ "GCN.IE"
  14. ^ "OECD"
  15. ^ "Irish Independent"
  16. ^ "Meath Chronicle"
  17. ^ O'Donovan, Donal; Kelly, Fiach (23 January 2013). "Fine Gael TD's firm folds with debts of €280,000". Irish Independent. Retrieved 10 November 2014.

External linksEdit

Preceded by
Thomas Byrne
(Fianna Fáil)
Fine Gael Teachta Dála for Meath East
Succeeded by
Darren O'Rourke
(Sinn Féin)
Political offices
Preceded by
Paul Kehoe
Government Chief Whip
Succeeded by
Joe McHugh
Preceded by
Leo Varadkar
as Minister for Social Protection
Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection