Educated in Blackrock College, Dublin, Gleeson holds B.A. and LL.M degrees and qualified as a barrister at the King's Inns, Dublin. His father was a solicitor and barrister and was later appointed a Circuit Court Judge and some of his brothers (John and Michael another brother is a practising general practitioner Dr. Tim Gleeson) also work as lawyers (Senior Counsel). Called to the Irish bar in 1970 he first practised outside of Dublin, Ireland's main legal centre, on the Cork Circuit. In the early 1970s he was a part time lecturer in Constitutional Law at University College Cork.
He then moved to the capital when he was appointed a Senior Counsel in 1979. He is believed to be the youngest 'silk' appointed in the common law world in the last century beating noted counsel such as the Australian QC Tony Morriss who was made a silk at 32.
Gleeson was a leading barrister in Ireland in the 1980s and 1990s before he became a senior government advisor and then a businessman. From 1994–1997 he was chief legal advisor to the government of Taoiseach John Bruton, serving as Attorney General of Ireland. Gleeson is a Bencher of King's Inns. He is also a Visiting Fellow at the School of Law at University College, Dublin. In more recent years he has become known for his business career. In 2000 he joined the board of Independent News and Media Plc as a non-executive director and in 2003 he was appointed Chairman of Ireland's largest bank Allied Irish Banks. His time in charge of AIB resulted in the enormous drops in the share price, leading to the infamous 'egging' incident at the May 2009 shareholder's meeting. In 2003 he was appointed ombudsman for the Diamond Trading Company (DTC), the marketing offshoot of diamond mining giant De Beers. In 2007 he was appointed chairman of the Governing Body of University College, Cork.
Gleeson is a former Auditor of the Literary and Historical Society, University College Dublin, and winner of the Irish Times National Debating Championship.
|Attorney General of Ireland