Education and career
Brian McCracken was born in Cork in 1934. He was educated at The High School, Dublin, University of Dublin and King's Inns Dublin. He became a barrister in 1957 and a senior counsel in 1975. Brian McCracken was appointed a High Court judge in 1995 and was elevated to Ireland's Supreme Court in 2002. His in-depth expertise in the field of intellectual property law was widely recognised but he also had expertise in both chancery and commercial law.
Brian McCracken was appointed as the sole member of The McCracken Tribunal which was set up by the Bruton Government in February 1997 to investigate reports of secret payments by Ben Dunne to former Taoiseach, Charles Haughey and former cabinet minister Michael Lowry.
The Tribunal heard evidence in July 1997 and produced a 100-page report the following month. This report found that Haughey had given untrue evidence under oath and that Lowry was knowingly assisted by Dunne in evading tax. As a result of the findings and revelation of substantial funds in secret Ansbacher accounts owned by Haughey the new Ahern Government established a more extensive follow-up, the Moriarty Tribunal to investigate the financial affairs of the two politicians.
Charles Haughey faced criminal charges for obstructing the work of the McCracken tribunal. His trial on these charges was postponed indefinitely after the judge in the case found that he would not be able to get a fair trial following prejudicial comments by Tánaiste Mary Harney.
Compared to the succeeding, and other tribunals, the McCracken Tribunal was praised for its efficiency in concluding within months.
He retired from the Supreme Court on 12 July 2006.
- List of notable Public Inquiries in Ireland
- Public Inquiry
- Beef Tribunal
- Moriarty Tribunal
- Mahon Tribunal
- Former PM in court — BBC News article, 6 October 1998.
- Haughey to stand trial for obstructing McCracken Tribunal — RTÉ News article, 9 July 1999.
- High Court upholds ruling on Haughey trial — RTÉ News report, 3 November 2000.