Rita O'Hare was the General Secretary of Sinn Féin and the current Sinn Féin Representative to the United States (since 1998).

O'Hare in 2014

She was born Rita McCulloch and raised in Belfast, Northern Ireland, the daughter of a Catholic nationalist mother and a Protestant Socialist father. She has one surviving sibling, a brother, Alan McCulloch.

She was involved in the Civil Rights campaign and later became a republican. She was editor of the Irish republican newspaper An Phoblacht ("Republican News") (AP/RN) in the 1980s and early 1990s. She was also Director of Publicity for Sinn Féin, succeeding Danny Morrison in that position.

She was arrested in Northern Ireland in 1972 for the attempted murder of British Army Warrant Officer Frazer Paton in Belfast in October 1971. She also faces malicious wounding and possession of firearms charges. Upon her release on bail she fled to Dublin in the Republic of Ireland where she lives with her family. She cannot return to the UK due to an outstanding arrest warrant.[1] Sinn Féin has presented her case to the British Government as one of the IRA 'on the runs' (OTRs) under consideration to be allowed to return to Northern Ireland.[2]

She served a three-year sentence in Limerick Prison for smuggling explosives to an IRA member and was released in 1979.[3][4]

Upon her release, her extradition from the Republic of Ireland was blocked as the Irish High Court ruled in March 1978 that O'Hare should not be extradited to Northern Ireland, on the ground that the offences that she was alleged to have committed fell within the political offence exception.[5][6]

Based in Dublin, she was temporarily banned from entering the United States after she traveled to Florida for a meeting (the terms of her special visa require that she first notify authorities before such travel). She is ineligible for a regular visa due to the outstanding warrant.[7]


Media offices
Preceded by
Mick Timothy
Editor of An Phoblacht
Succeeded by
Micheal Mac Donncha
Party political offices
Preceded by Sinn Féin Director of Publicity
Succeeded by
Preceded by General Secretary of Sinn Féin
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Treasurer of Sinn Féin
with Maurice Quinlivan