Máire Whelan

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Máire Whelan
Attorney General of Ireland
Assumed office
9 March 2011
Preceded by Paul Gallagher
Personal details
Born Kinvara, County Galway
Nationality Irish
Political party Labour Party
Spouse(s) Bernard McCabe
Children 1
Alma mater University College Galway,
University of London

Máire R. Whelan SC (born c. 1962) is an Irish barrister and senior counsel who was appointed to the post of Attorney General on 9 March 2011 by President Mary McAleese on the nomination of the Taoiseach, Enda Kenny.[1] She is the first woman to hold this position in Ireland.[2]

Whelan studied politics and sociology at University College Galway, before switching to law,[2] and gained a Masters Degree from the University of London.[3] She was called to the bar in 1985, and was appointed as senior counsel in 2005.[3] She is a co-author of National Asset Management Agency (NAMA) Act 2009: A Reference Guide.[4] She has served as financial secretary of the Labour Party, which is the junior member of the 2011 coalition government formed with Fine Gael.[5] Her appointment as Attorney General caused some surprise amongst lawyers because she had a relatively low profile, owing to practising in areas of law where many cases are heard in camera.[6]

Whelan, from Kinvara, County Galway, is married to barrister Bernard McCabe. They have one child and live in Dublin.[2][4]


  1. ^ "As It Happened - First day of 31st Dáil". RTÉ News. 9 March 2011. Retrieved 10 March 2011. 
  2. ^ a b c Cullen, Paul (10 March 2011). "First female Attorney General a 'smart and able advocate'". Irish Times. Retrieved 10 March 2011. 
  3. ^ a b "Barrister's database". Bar Council of Ireland. Retrieved 9 March 2011. 
  4. ^ a b McDonald, Dearbhail (10 March 2011). "Top lawyers welcome appointment of first ever female AG". Irish Independent. Retrieved 10 March 2011. 
  5. ^ Collins, Stephen; McGee, Harry (8 March 2011). "Labour set for AG role as Fine Gael takes 10 ministries". Irish Times. Retrieved 10 March 2011. 
  6. ^ McDonald, Dearbhail (11 March 2011). "Whelan gets AG job over stellar FG law line-up". The Irish Independent. Retrieved 22 March 2011. 


  • Whelan, Máire R.; Kennedy, Mark; O Raghallaigh, Feargus (4 March 2011). National Asset Management Agency (NAMA) Act 2009: A Reference Guide. Dublin: Gill & Macmillan. ISBN 978-0-7171-4840-0. 
Legal offices
Preceded by
Paul Gallagher
Attorney General of Ireland