O'Connell, Daniel (1816–97), politician, was born 22 August 1816 at 30 Merrion Square South, Dublin, the youngest of four sons and three daughters of Daniel O'Connell (qv), lawyer and politician, and his wife, Mary (qv) (née O'Connell). His early education took place at home under the supervision of his mother and a private tutor. At the age of fourteen he entered Clongowes Wood College. The youngest son, he was spoiled and indulged by his parents; he was particularly close to his mother, who had experienced severe problems at his birth, which came after four successive children died in infancy. As a result, he depended a great deal on his father for money and career opportunities.
In 1831, while he was still at school, his father bought him a partnership in Madder's brewery in Dublin and renamed it Daniel O'Connell Jnr. and Co. This was seen as a ‘catholic’ rival to Arthur Guinness & Co., and was regularly presented by opponents as exemplifying O'Connell's attempts to trade on his political popularity. (In fact, there were limits to his father's commitments to it; while he made public appearances at the brewery to reinforce his personal commitment, he resisted private entreaties that he should put pressure on distillers to trade with it in return for his parliamentary lobbying services.) The stout was initially almost undrinkable, and neither young Daniel nor his partners had much business expertise; as a result the repeal activist P. V. Fitzpatrick (qv) was sent in to oversee its running. In 1832 an experienced brewer, John Darcy, was recruited to the firm, injecting considerable capital and expertise. Thereafter the stout was said to have been of high quality but very expensive to brew and buy.
O'Connell's long and unsuccessful attempts to make the brewery viable became more difficult with the rise of the temperance campaign of Fr Theobald Mathew (qv), which his father temporarily and opportunistically endorsed, privately lamenting its impact on the family brewery. O'Connell finally left the firm in 1840, when it came under new management. The following year, in an effort to forge a new career for him, his father reluctantly put him forward as repeal candidate for Carlow (a high-profile Conservative-held marginal seat) in the general election. Despite his father's personal canvassing and speech-making (he spent the entire campaign in the constituency), O'Connell failed to win the seat. In subsequent years he was active in the Repeal Association, where he passively followed his father's direction; his role was largely confined to reading his father's letters to association meetings.
In 1846 he became MP for Dundalk, which was presented by Young Ireland critics as a quid pro quo for his father's failure to oppose the re-election of R. L. Sheil (qv) for Dungarvan after his acceptance of office in the new Whig government. O'Connell accompanied his father on his last journey abroad and was with him when he died in Genoa in May 1847. He was left £8,000 in his father's will, but is unlikely to have received more than a fraction of this because of the estate's indebtedness.
In the general election of 1847 O'Connell was elected for Waterford City but in 1848 he vacated the seat and subsequently served as consul at Para, Brazil (1850–52). In 1853, after the death of his eldest brother, Maurice O'Connell (qv), he was elected for Tralee (regarded as a virtual O'Connell family borough) despite opposition from the Independent Irish Party of Charles Gavan Duffy (qv), which protested that, having already enjoyed one government appointment, he wished to return to parliament only in order to make it worthwhile to buy him off with some more lucrative position. O'Connell retained his Tralee seat until 1863; however, he rarely spoke in parliament. He was also a captain in the Kerry militia (1853–65).
In 1863 he left politics and moved to London when appointed a commissioner of income tax. On 22 October 1866 he married Ellen Mary, the daughter of Ebenezer Foster, of the Elms, Cambridge, with whom he had ten children. During the debates on the second home rule bill (1892–3) he signed a catholic anti-home rule manifesto and claimed that, if his father had then been alive, he too would have been a unionist. He died 14 June 1897 at his home, 46 Clapham Road, Bedford. His papers are in the NLI.