Niall O’Dowd is the founder of Irish America magazine, Irish Voice newspaper and www.Irish Central.com – the three leading Irish American media properties. A native of Thurles, County Tipperary, his family moved to Drogheda, County Louth when he was nine. He graduated from UCD in 1977 with a degree in English and Gaelic and soon after emigrated to the US. He started his first newspaper in San Franciso in 1979 and later moved to New York where he started Irish America magazine in 1985, Irish Voice in 1987 and www.IrishCentral.com in 2009. The latter has four million unique visitors monthly. He also freelanced for the Irish Press newspaper.
He is a committed supporter of immigrant rights and started the Irish Lobby for Immigration Reform in 2003 in response to the thousands of Irish undocumented. He hosted Senator Hillary Clinton, Senator John McCain and Senator Ted Kennedy at ILIR events. He founded Irish Americans for Clinton in 1992 and became a close confidant of the Clinton family. President Clinton has publically stated that he became interested in Northern Ireland first through Niall O’Dowd.
He served as the go-between between Sinn Fein and the Clinton White House and headed up a historic Irish American delegation which made several visits to Northern Ireland and included former Congressman Bruce Morrison and billionaire philanthropist Chuck Feeney. Gerry Adams has stated that, without the group’s intervention, the first IRA ceasefire would not have happened when it did. His work on the Northern Irish peace process was the subject of the book “Daring Diplomacy” by Irish Times correspondent Conor O’Clery and a PBS/RTE documentary entitled “An Irish Voice.” The Washington Post published a profile on him in March 2017 by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalists Mary Jordan and Kevin Sullivan entitled “The Negotiator” and dealing with his role in the American leg of the peace process. He was also featured in the book “Nine Irish Lives” by Mark Bailey about the nine most famous emigrants to ever come from Ireland. Niall was awarded an honorary doctorate by University College Dublin for his work on the Irish peace process,
He is the author of three books, “Fire in the Morning” about the Irish who died on 9/11, a memoir “An Irish Voice” and his latest, “Lincoln and the Irish –The Untold Story” by Skyhorse Press.
He lives in New York with his wife Debbie and daughter Alana.