Mary Laffoy

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The Hon. Miss Justice
Mary Laffoy
Justice of the Supreme Court
Assumed office
27 July 2013
Nominated by Government of Ireland
Appointed by Michael D. Higgins
Chair of the Citizens' Assembly
Assumed office
27 July 2016
Appointed by Enda Kenny
Preceded by position established
Personal details
Born Mary Eleanor Laffoy
(1945-06-17) 17 June 1945 (age 71)
Tuam, Galway, Ireland
Nationality Irish
Alma mater
Religion Roman Catholicism

Mary Eleanor Laffoy (born 17 June 1945) is a Justice of the Supreme Court of Ireland appointed on the 27 July 2013. In July 2016 she was appointed as Chair of the Citizens' Assembly.[1]


She was educated at University College Dublin and King's Inns.[2] She was called to the Bar in 1971 and to the Inner Bar in 1987. She was appointed as a judge of the High Court in 1995.[3]

She is most notable for presiding over the Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse from 1999–2003, an inquiry into child abuse. Her decision to resign as chair before the commission completed its report was controversial. In her letter of resignation from the commission of 2 September 2003, Laffoy outlined her belief that the actions of the Government and the Department of Education had frustrated her efforts and had slowed the commission's work.[4] She felt that: "...the cumulative effect of those factors effectively negated the guarantee of independence conferred on the Commission and militated against it being able to perform its statutory functions." The commission was chaired from 2003–09 by judge Seán Ryan.

Laffoy was appointed to the Supreme Court of Ireland in July 2013.[1]

In July 2016 she was appointed by Taoiseach Enda Kenny to chair the Citizens Assembly.


  1. ^ a b "Two new Supreme Court judges announced". RTÉ News. 25 July 2013. 
  2. ^ "Two new judges for the Supreme Court". 25 July 2013. 
  3. ^ "Two judges nominated for the Supreme Court". 25 July 2013. 
  4. ^ Arnold, Bruce. The Irish Gulag, Gill and Macmillan, Dublin 2009. Chapters 9 & 10. ISBN 978-0-7171-4614-7