Tony O’Doherty discusses his role in helping forge a solution to persistent electoral violence in Northern Ireland’s second-largest city, Derry/Londonderry. He paints a vivid picture of what violence once looked like on Election Day, when Catholic nationalists unleashed a wave of gasoline bombs and threw stones at the predominately Protestant-linked police who were stationed at polling places to provide security and transport ballot boxes. O’Doherty talks about how a locally sourced solution that involved private dialogues between the nationalist political party, Sinn Féin, and the police force, all but eliminated violence in subsequent elections.
At the time of the interview, Tony O’Doherty was a community activist in Londonderry/Derry, Northern Ireland. For years, he played a key role in helping limit clashes between Catholic nationalists and the Protestant-linked police on Election Day. He was one of the founders of the Central Drive Community Center, which provides social services to residents of the impoverished Creggan Estate housing project. Before becoming involved in community activism, O’Doherty was a professional soccer player with various clubs in Northern Ireland and at the international level.