Home About Chat Users Issues Party Candidates Polling Firms Media News Polls Calendar Key Races United States President Senate House Governors International

New User Account
"A historical political resource." 
Email: Password:

  O'Dwyer, Paul
NamePaul O'Dwyer
Brooklyn, New York , United States
Born June 29, 1907
DiedJune 26, 1998 (90 years)
Last ModifedCraverguy
Mar 12, 2008 12:48am
Tags Irish - Catholic - Straight -
InfoIn his ninety-one years, Paul O'Dwyer accomplished more than most dream of. Born in Bohola, near Swinford, County Mayo, in 1907, his young experiences of poverty both steeled him for a life of determined achievement and inspired him to causes of the less fortunate.

On coming to the United States as a young man, he made the City of New York his home, where he raised a family, established a successful law practice, and became a much-loved local politician. He only barely lost a seat in the U.S. Senate to Jacob Javits. At the pinnacle of his political career, in 1973 he was appointed as President of the City Council of New York. And all the while, he never neglected his Irish heritage and indeed took every opportunity to provide support to Irish people both in Ireland and the U.S. Among other esteemed endeavors, he served as President of the Mayo Society of New York and of the United Irish Counties of New York. He founded the Irish Institute. He created a National Park in County Wexford in honor of President John F. Kennedy. Particularly admirable is the magnificent edifice in his native Bohola known as the O'Dwyer Cheshire Home, a place of refuge and comfort for the disabled and afflicted of that region.

During his lifetime, with no concern for his personal harm or reputation in any given era, he pursued a host of controversial but extremely worthy causes. Displaying tremendous courage, at the height of the anti-communist frenzy, he accepted the presidency of the National Lawyers Guild, adamantly opposing the communist baiting tactics of Senator Joe McCarthy. Long before it was fashionable, he marched in Mississippi and Alabama in support of the African American right to vote. He vehemently and publicly opposed the Vietnam War. He went to Russia to denounce the treatment of Soviet Jews, and to Spain to speak for the victims of Franco's fascist regime. And always, he was an implacable foe of British presence in Ireland.

At a party in New York celebrating his ninetieth birthday, former Mayor Rudolph Giuliani honored him for "making a better life for tens of thousands of other people," and called him "an exceptional example of a great New Yorker." Rep. Peter King described him as "the most decent, honorable human being I've ever met."

Following his death, in September 1998, the Paul O'Dwyer Peace and Justice Award was established, and its first recipient was President Bill Clinton. Clinton was so proud to receive the award that he invited over 700 Irish Americans to the White House to witness his acceptance of the award from Paul's son Brian.


Title Purchase Contributor

Start Date End Date Type Title Contributor

Date Category Headline Article Contributor
Jun 25, 1998 12:00am Obituary Paul O'Dwyer, New York's Liberal Battler For Underdogs and Outsiders, Dies at 90  Article Craverguy 

Importance? 7.00000 Average

Father Patrick O'Dwyer 0000-
Brother William O'Dwyer 1890-1964

  09/19/1977 NYC Council President - D Primary Runoff Lost 41.21% (-17.57%)
  09/08/1977 NYC Council President - D Primary Won 30.55% (+5.14%)
  09/14/1976 NY US Senate - D Primary Lost 9.02% (-27.38%)
  11/06/1973 New York City Council President Won 59.19% (+29.25%)
  06/04/1973 NYC Council President - D Primary Won 41.41% (+5.59%)
  06/23/1970 NY US Senate - D Primary Lost 32.60% (-7.08%)
  05/11/1970 NY US Senate - L Convention Lost 16.00% (-51.00%)
  11/05/1968 NY US Senate Lost 32.68% (-17.00%)
  07/29/1968 US Vice President - D Convention Lost 0.04% (-73.97%)
  06/18/1968 NY US Senate - D Primary Won 36.14% (+2.39%)
  09/14/1965 NYC Mayor - D Primary Lost 3.82% (-41.02%)
  11/05/1963 New York City Council - Manhattan At-Large Won 52.00% (+21.13%)
  11/02/1948 NY District 21 Lost 49.08% (-1.83%)
New York City Mayor - Nov 04, 1969 D John V. Lindsay
NYC Mayor - D Primary - Jun 17, 1969 D Herman Badillo