Catherine McGuinness

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Catherine McGuinness
Justice Catherine McGuinness.jpg
Member of the Council of State
Assumed office
6 January 2012
Appointed by Michael D. Higgins
In office
2 May 1988 – 11 November 1990
Appointed by Patrick Hillery
Justice of the Supreme Court
In office
1 July 2000 – 23 September 2006
Nominated by Government of Ireland
Appointed by Mary McAleese
Judge of the High Court
In office
10 August 1996 – 1 July 2000
Nominated by Government of Ireland
Appointed by Mary Robinson
Judge of the Circuit court
In office
22 July 1994 – 10 August 1996
Nominated by Government of Ireland
Appointed by Mary Robinson
Senator
In office
15 November 1983 – 20 July 1987
In office
20 June 1979 – 11 July 1982
Constituency University of Dublin
Personal details
Born Catherine Isobel Bridget Ellis
(1934-11-14) 14 November 1934 (age 83)
Belfast, Northern Ireland
Nationality Irish
Spouse(s) Proinsias Mac Aonghusa
(m. 1969; d. 2003)
Children 3
Parents
  • Canon Robert Ellis
  • Sylvia Craig
Residence Sandymount, Dublin, Ireland
Education Alexandra College
Alma mater

Catherine McGuinness (née Ellis; born 14 November 1934) is a retired Irish judge who served as a Justice of the Supreme Court from 2000 to 2006, Judge of the High Court from 1996 to 2000, Judge of the Circuit court from 1994 to 1996 and a Senator for the University of Dublin from 1979 to 1981 and between 1983 to 1987. She was appointed by President Michael D. Higgins to the Council of State in January 2012. She had previously been a Member of the Council of State from 1988 to 1990, upon being appointed by President Patrick Hillery.[1][2]

She was President of the Law Reform Commission from 2007 to 2009. In May 2013 she was appointed Chair of the National University of Ireland Galway Governing Authority.[3]

Biography[edit]

Born in Belfast, Northern Ireland, McGuinness was educated in Alexandra College, Trinity College Dublin and the King's Inns.[4] In the 1960s she worked for the Labour Party.[5] She was called to the Irish bar in 1977 at age 42. In 1989 she was called to the Inner Bar.[6]

In 1979 she was elected as an independent candidate to Seanad Éireann at a by-election on 11 December 1979 in the Dublin University constituency following the resignation of Conor Cruise O'Brien, taking her seat in the 14th Seanad.[1] She was re-elected at the 1981 elections to the 15th Seanad, and in 1983 to the 17th Seanad, where she served until 1987. She lost her seat to David Norris.[5] She was appointed to the Council of State on 2 May 1988 by President Patrick Hillery and served until 1990.[6]

She was appointed a judge in the Circuit Court in 1994, the first woman to hold that office in the Ireland.[5] In 1996 she was appointed to the High Court and remained there until her appointment to the Supreme Court in January 2000.[7][8]

In November 2005 she was appointed Adjunct Professor at the Faculty of Law, National University of Ireland, Galway.[9] She was also appointed President of the Law Reform Commission in 2005, and held that position until 2011.[6]

In April 2009 she was awarded a "Lord Mayor's Award" by Dublin Lord Mayor Eibhlin Byrne "for her contribution to the lives of children and families in the city through her pioneering work".[10] In September 2010 she was named as one of the "People of the Year" for "her pioneering, courageous and long-standing service to Irish society".[11][12] In November 2012 she won the 'Irish Tatler Hall of Fame Award'[13]

In addition to her judicial career, McGuinness has served on the Employment Equality Agency, Kilkenny Incest Investigation, the Forum for Peace and Reconciliation,[14] the National Council of the Forum on End of Life in Ireland,[4] and the Irish Universities Quality Board.[15] In June 2011 she became patron of the Irish Refugee Council.[16] In November 2011 she was appointed Chairperson of the "Campaign for Children"[17]

She has received honorary doctorates from the University of Ulster, the National University of Ireland, the University of Dublin, the Higher Education and Training Awards Council (HETAC) and the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland.[14]

In February 2013 McGuinness accepted the Honorary Presidency of Trinity College, Dublin's Free Legal Advice Centre

In January 2014 she was appointed by Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources, Pat Rabbitte to chair the expert panel to oversee the preparation of reports on the best underground route options to compare with the Grid Link and Grid West high voltage power lines in Ireland.[18]

In March 2015 she received an Alumni Award from Trinity College Dublin.[19]

She was married to broadcaster and writer Proinsias Mac Aonghusa and has three children.

Catherine McGuinness Fellowship on Children’s Rights and Child Law[edit]

In November 2014 the Children's Rights Alliance established the Catherine McGuinness Fellowship on Children’s Rights and Child Law, a one-year Fellowship Programme for newly qualified barristers to work as part of their Legal and Policy Team on law and policy reform for children in the area of children's rights and child law in the Irish context. The Programme was developed in partnership with the Bar Council of Ireland and with the support of the Family Lawyers Association of Ireland.[20]

The Fellowship was launched by the Chief Justice of Ireland, Susan Denham who described McGuinness as "an advocate at heart" and a "patriot, in the true sense of the word" who "stands up for the rights of others, particularly those who are marginalised and vulnerable in our society." [21]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Ms. Catherine McGuinness". Oireachtas Members Database. Retrieved 6 January 2012. 
  2. ^ "President appoints seven to Council of State". RTÉ News and Current Affairs. 6 January 2012. Retrieved 6 January 2012. 
  3. ^ "Judge McGuinness Appointed Chair of NUI Galway Governing Authority". NUIG Website. 1 May 2013. Retrieved 5 May 2013. 
  4. ^ a b "Mrs Justice Catherine McGuinness". Forum on End of Life. Archived from the original on 14 September 2011. Retrieved 6 January 2012. 
  5. ^ a b c Fintan O'Toole. "Agents of change 25 women who made a difference". The Irish Times. Retrieved 6 January 2012. 
  6. ^ a b c Doyle, Kilian (6 January 2012). "Higgins unveils his seven Council of State nominees". The Irish Times. Retrieved 6 January 2012. 
  7. ^ "Galway-bias as President Michael D unveils Council of State appointees". Irish Independent. 6 January 2012. Retrieved 6 January 2012. 
  8. ^ "New Chief Justice announced as Ahern prepares for reshuffle". RTÉ News and Current Affairs. 25 January 2000. Retrieved 6 January 2012. 
  9. ^ "Faculty Appoints Adjunct Professor" (PDF). Law Times (2). 2005–2006. Archived from the original (PDF) on 7 February 2012. Retrieved 6 January 2012. 
  10. ^ "Norris and McGuinness among recipients of awards". The Irish Times. 4 April 2009. Retrieved 6 January 2012. 
  11. ^ "Selfless qualities mark winners apart". The Irish Times. 9 September 2010. Retrieved 6 January 2012. 
  12. ^ "Previous People of the Year". Retrieved 6 January 2012. 
  13. ^ "Irish Tatler Women of the Year Awards". Irish Independent. Retrieved 1 December 2012. 
  14. ^ a b "Lead Singer of U2 and President of the European Parliament Among Leading Figures to Receive Honorary Degrees at Trinity College Dublin". University of Dublin, Trinity College, Dublin. 11 July 2003. Retrieved 6 January 2012. 
  15. ^ "Board Profiles". Irish Universities Quality Board. Archived from the original on 6 January 2012. Retrieved 6 January 2012. 
  16. ^ "Mrs. Justice McGuinness joins campaign for asylum reform". Irish Refuge Council. Retrieved 6 January 2012. 
  17. ^ "Campaign for Children website". Campaign for Children. Archived from the original on 24 February 2012. Retrieved 8 January 2012. 
  18. ^ "Irish Government Information site website". Retrieved 20 June 2014. 
  19. ^ "Trinity College Dublin website". Retrieved 4 October 2015. 
  20. ^ "Catherine McGuinness Fellowship on Children's Rights and Child Law". Archived from the original on 17 November 2014. Retrieved 25 November 2014. 
  21. ^ "Retired Supreme Court Judge Catherine McGuinness has said that it is a "very great honour" to have a new fellowship on Children's Rights and Child Law named after her". The Irish Independent. 19 November 2014. Retrieved 25 November 2014.