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Seán Sherlock (born 6 December 1972) is an Irish Labour Party politician who has been a Teachta Dála (TD) for the Cork East constituency since the 2007 general election. He previously served as Minister of State for Overseas Development Assistance, Trade Promotion and North South Cooperation from 2014 to 2016 and Minister of State for Research and Innovation from 2011 to 2014.[1]

Seán Sherlock

Seán Sherlock 2015.png
Minister of State for Overseas Development Assistance, Trade Promotion and North South Cooperation
In office
15 July 2014 – 6 May 2016
TaoiseachEnda Kenny
Preceded byNew office
Succeeded byJoe McHugh
Minister of State for Research and Innovation
In office
19 March 2011 – 15 July 2014
TaoiseachEnda Kenny
Preceded byNew office
Succeeded byDamien English
Teachta Dála
Assumed office
May 2007
ConstituencyCork East
Personal details
Born (1972-12-06) 6 December 1972 (age 46)
Mallow, County Cork, Ireland
Political partyLabour Party
Spouse(s)Máire Ní Ríordáin (m. 2015)
Alma materUniversity College Galway

Early lifeEdit

Sherlock was born in Mallow, County Cork, the son of Joe Sherlock, who at the time was an Official Sinn Féin Cork County Councillor. He was educated locally at St. Patrick's boys' national school and the Patrician Academy before later attending the College of Commerce in Cork. Sherlock subsequently studied at University College Galway,[2] where he completed a degree in Economics and Politics.

Political careerEdit

Sherlock first became directly involved in politics when he served a six-month internship with MEP Proinsias De Rossa, in his office at the European Parliament. Following the completion of his internship he was offered a full-time job working as an assistant to de Rossa.

In 2002, Sherlock served as election manager for his father in his attempt to win back a seat in the Cork East constituency at the general election as a Labour Party candidate. The campaign was successful; Joe Sherlock returned to Dáil Éireann after a ten-year absence.

The abolition of the dual mandate in 2003 meant that Joe Sherlock had to vacate his seats on Mallow Town Council and Cork County Council. Seán was chosen as his replacement and he was co-opted onto both councils that year. The following year he won both seats in his own right when he was successful at the local elections. He was then elected Mayor of Mallow.

When Joe Sherlock announced that he would not be contesting the 2007 general election, Seán was once again chosen as a replacement candidate. He contested Cork East for the Labour Party and was elected.[3] A Fianna Fáil-headed government returned to power once again. Seán Sherlock was subsequently appointed Labour Party Spokesperson on Agriculture and Food.

Sherlock retained his Dáil seat at the 2011 general election, topping the poll in Cork East. When the new coalition government was formed he was tipped for possible inclusion in the cabinet; however, he joined the junior ministerial ranks as Minister of State for Research and Innovation.[4]

Copyright legislationEdit

In January 2012, Sherlock proposed legislation to give copyright holders the right to seek an injunction against copyright violators. A group called 'Stop SOPA Ireland' petitioned against the legislation, comparisons being made between these reforms and the Stop Online Piracy Act in the United States. Sherlock said such comparisons were "not based on fact".[5] According to the Irish government the legislation was intended to close a loophole after a High Court case in 2010, in which EMI sued UPC, an internet service provider, over illegal downloads. A denial-of-service attack was performed against government websites in protest over the changes.[6]

On 29 February 2012, Sherlock signed the legislation into law. He cited Ireland's "obligations under EU law".[7][8] The legislation subsequently resulted in the blocking of The Pirate Bay in Ireland.[9]

Minister of State: 2014–2016Edit

On 15 July 2014, he was appointed as Minister of State with responsibility for Overseas Development Assistance, Trade Promotion and North–South Cooperation at the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.[10] Following the 2016 general election, Labour returned to opposition, much reduced in numbers. He remained as Minister of State in an acting capacity during prolonged talks on government formation, earning €23,391 in that time.[11]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Seán Sherlock". Oireachtas Members Database. Retrieved 17 June 2019.
  2. ^ "Former NUI Galway Students, including Taoiseach, take senior roles in Cabinet". Spring 2011. Archived from the original on 9 May 2012.
  3. ^ "Seán Sherlock". Retrieved 18 April 2009.
  4. ^ "Kenny breaks election pledge by not cutting junior ministers". Irish Examiner. 11 March 2011. Retrieved 18 March 2011.
  5. ^ Edwards, Elaine (26 January 2012). "Copyright 'piracy' measurepublished". The Irish Times. Retrieved 29 January 2012.
  6. ^ "Anti copyright hackers claim responsibility for government website attacks". Irish Independent. 25 January 2012. Retrieved 29 January 2012.
  7. ^ "Sherlock signs copyright amendment law". RTÉ News. Raidió Teilifís Éireann. 29 February 2012. Retrieved 29 February 2012.
  8. ^ Carbery, Genevieve (29 February 2012). "Internet copyright law signed". The Irish Times. Retrieved 29 February 2012.
  9. ^ "Ireland's High Court orders six ISPs to block access to The Pirate Bay". Silicon Republic. 16 June 2013. Retrieved 2 July 2014.
  10. ^ "Simon Harris among new Ministers of State". RTÉ News. 15 July 2014.
  11. ^ McGrath, Meadhbh (6 May 2016). "Revealed: The salaries TDs pocketed over 10 weeks of government talks". Irish Independent.

External linksEdit