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Doherty 'pulls a Bertie' with his engineer claim

SINN FEIN's Pearse Doherty was forced to amend his official website last night after wrongly claiming he is a qualified "civil engineer".

The rising star of the party was left red-faced after claims he 'did a Bertie' and embellished his academic background.

Both the Oireachtas and Sinn Fein websites had to change the Donegal South West TD's biography to read "civil engineer technician" and not "civil engineer" -- a title which he is not entitled to claim.

Mr Doherty last night insisted there was "no malice" behind the missing and crucial reference to "technician".

The newly elected Sinn Fein TD, who is trying to win back a seat he only won in November, insisted he has always been "upfront" about quitting a three-year engineering college course after just two years.

He is entitled to call himself a technician, but not an engineer, on foot of his studies at DIT.


While there is a difference between a technician and engineer, Mr Doherty said it was not, as some suggested, akin to a "porter claiming to be a doctor".

And he claimed that while his official title is not that of a civil engineer, he had gone on to do the work of an engineer on construction sites.

"I don't think any of my number one votes were based on whether I was a civil engineer or not," he said. "When people went into the polling booths and saw the list of qualifications, mine would have been down as a public representative," he said.

Former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern was previously forced to clarify his academic qualifications after Fine Gael raised questions about his attendance at the London School of Economics and UCD.

But Mr Doherty last night insisted there was no comparison to that controversy.

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And he insisted he had never sought to use his professional qualifications to better qualify for any position or appointment.

He conceded the word "technician" needed to be added to his biography and this had been taken care of yesterday afternoon on all profiles on Sinn Fein and Oireachtas websites.