About Denis O'Donovan

Denis O'Donovan

About Denis O'Donovan

Date of birth:

23 Jul 1955


25th Seanad (2016 - )


Fianna Fáil


Agricultural Panel


Senator O'Donovan was born on the peninsula of Muintir Bháire in July 1955, the youngest in a family of 11 children. Educated at Gouladoo N.S., Bantry Boys Club and Coláiste an Chroí ro Naofa, Carrignavar, he graduated from University College Cork in Law (Hons) in 1975.

Denis is a full-time politician and was elected to Dáil Éireann in 2002, when he topped the poll, until 2007 when he lost his seat and was subsequently elected to Seanad Éireann on the Industrial & Commercial Panel. He was re-elected to the Seanad on the Agricultural Panel in 2011. 

He is a member of Bol Chumainn na hÉireann and Director of Sheepshead Way Walking Group. Denis is a lifelong member of the GAA and enjoys sea fishing and hill walking.

Political record

  • Elected Cathaoirleach (speaker) of Seanad Éireann on 8 June 2016. 
  • Served as Leas-Chathaoirleach (deputy speaker) of Seanad Éireann from 2011 to 2016. 
  • Former deputy leader of the Fianna Fáil group in the Seanad.
  • Spokesperson on Justice, Defence & Equality and member of the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Justice, Defence & Equality.
  • Elected to Cork County Council in 1985 and topped the poll on three occasions (1985, 1991 & 1999). Elected as the youngest ever Chairman in 1989.
  • Chairperson of the all-party Oireachtas Committee on the Constitution 2002-2007 which published two very significant reports on 'Property' and 'The Family'.
  • Chaired the all-party Oireachtas Committee set up to remove a sitting judge from office under Article 15 of our Constitution. This was the first Committee set up for this purpose since the foundation of the State.

See a list of all previous Cathaoirligh