Dockrell, Margaret Sarah (1849–1926), suffragist, philanthropist, and councillor, was born 18 March 1849 at 18 Charlotte St., Dublin, and baptised into the Church of Ireland, eldest among three daughters and two sons of George William Shannon, solicitor, and Emily Shannon (née Goodman). She was educated at Alexandra College, Dublin, and at TCD, where she attended lectures for women. When she left Alexandra College – before the passing of the Intermediate Education Act, 1878, which opened the examination system to women on the same basis as men, and before the passing of the Royal University Act, 1879, which allowed women to read for degrees – marriage and childbearing were the main goals for women. In July 1875 she married Maurice Edward Dockrell (qv) (later Sir Maurice), eldest son of Thomas Dockrell, a well known Dublin merchant, and Anne Morgan Dockrell (née Brooks), and had seven children: one daughter and six sons. She subsequently became a director and a member of the board of Messrs Thomas Dockrell & Sons & Co. Ltd.
Margaret Dockrell was an active committee member of the Dublin Women's Suffrage and Local Government Association, later known as the Irish Women's Suffrage and Local Government Association (IWSLGA), founded in Dublin in 1876 to promote women's suffrage by constitutional means. She gave the IWSLGA an international dimension by her attendance at international women's suffrage conferences in Stockholm (1911) and Budapest (1913). In addition she was a committee member of the London Women's Suffrage Society, and in 1899 she attended the International Congress of Women in London, where she spoke on the subject of women in local government. In 1912 the Irish Citizen listed her as a suitable woman candidate for a seat in a senate proposed by the home rule bill of 1912.
Dockrell was also a member of the National Union of Women Workers (NUWW), established in Nottingham, England, in 1895 to provide a forum for women interested in women's issues. As a member of its public services committee, she was typical of most nineteenth-century feminists who believed that women were best suited to deal with issues such as housing, health, and the moral well-being of society.
The passing of the Local Government (Ireland) Act, 1898, not only extended the municipal franchise to women but enabled women to present as candidates. As a candidate for the Monkstown ward of Blackrock, Co. Dublin, Urban District Council (UDC) in the 1898 local elections, she was returned third of nine elected in the ward and was one of only four women councillors elected nationally. Describing herself as a protestant and a unionist, she spent twenty-seven years on Blackrock UDC until her death in 1926; she was the only woman councillor on Blackrock UDC until Ellen O'Neill was elected in 1925. As a councillor, Dockrell did not confine herself to the philanthropic role expected of a woman, and sought to establish women's right to the highest office, being elected chair in 1906 – the first woman chair of a UDC.
Throughout the turmoil that accompanied the creation of the Irish Free State, she not only continued her commitment to local politics by being re-elected to Blackrock UDC but also successfully presented as a first-time candidate in the county council elections of 1920 – the first woman elected to Dublin county council. Though a committed unionist, she warmly cooperated with the Free State government, her son Henry (qv) becoming a Cumann na nGaedheal and later Fine Gael TD (1932–48). She died at her residence at ‘Camolin’, Eaton Square, Monkstown, on 29 June 1926.