Ronan Keane

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Ronan Keane
9th Chief Justice of Ireland
In office
1 June 2000 – 28 November 2004
Nominated by Government of Ireland
Appointed by Mary McAleese
Preceded by Liam Hamilton
Succeeded by John L. Murray
Justice of the Supreme Court
In office
21 January 1996 – 28 November 2004
Nominated by Government of Ireland
Appointed by Mary Robinson
Judge of the High Court
In office
11 July 1979 – 21 January 1996
Nominated by Government of Ireland
Appointed by Patrick Hillery
Personal details
Born Ronan Patrick Keane
(1932-07-20) 20 July 1932 (age 86)
Castleknock, Dublin, Ireland
Nationality Irish
Political party Fianna Fáil
Spouse(s) Terry Keane (m. 1962; div. 1996)
Relations Diarmuid Gavin (Son-in-law)
Children 3
Education Blackrock College
Alma mater

Ronan Patrick Keane (born 20 July 1932) is a retired Irish judge who served as Chief Justice of Ireland from 2000 to 2004, Justice of the Supreme Court from 1996 to 2004 and Judge of the High Court from 1979 to 1996.[1]

Keane was educated at Blackrock College, Dublin, and graduated from University College Dublin (UCD) in 1953 with a BA in Modern History. He was called to the Bar in 1954[1] and became a Senior Counsel in 1970.[1] He was appointed as a Judge of the High Court in July 1979.[1] He was head of the Tribunal of Inquiry into the Stardust fire in 1981,[1] and chairman of the Law Reform Commission from 1987 to 1992.[1] He has published many legal texts and papers, and participated in Council of Europe programmes developing legal systems in Post-Communist Europe.[1] He was elevated to the Supreme Court in 1996,[1] becoming Chief Justice in 2000. Chief Justice Keane received an Honorary Doctorate from UCD in 2001,[2] and has been an Adjunct Professor at Trinity College Dublin since his retirement.

In 1962 Keane married Therese O'Donnell, who, as Terry Keane, became a fashion journalist and later a social diarist.[3] They had three children together, and later became close to the daughter Terry had previously given up for adoption.[3] The couple separated in the 1980s but remained amicable.[3] Their son Tim died suddenly in 2004.[4] In 1999 Terry revealed on The Late Late Show her affair beginning in 1972 with sometime Taoiseach Charles Haughey.[3] Ronan and Terry's daughter Justine Keane is married to Diarmuid Gavin, the Irish garden designer and television personality.

Keane is the Independent Chairman of the Appeals board of the Turf Club of Ireland.[5]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h "Fellows and Scholars 2007: Ronan Keane (Hon. Mr Justice)". Trinity College Dublin. 2007. Retrieved 2008-08-03. 
  2. ^ "UCD News" (PDF). UCD. Autumn–Winter 2001. p. 12. Retrieved 2008-08-03. 
  3. ^ a b c d "Diarist who later regretted her TV revelation of affair". The Irish Times. 2008-06-07. Retrieved 2008-08-03. 
  4. ^ Mallon, Charles; Jim Cusack (2004-07-11). "Son of Chief Justice and Terry Keane found dead in flat". Sunday Independent. Retrieved 2008-08-03. 
  5. ^ Rules of racing and Irish National Hunt Steeplechase Rules (PDF) (Amendments & alternations up to and including 27 March 2008 ed.). Curragh, County Kildare: Irish Turf Club and Irish National Hunt Steeplechase Committee. p. 5. Archived from the original (PDF) on 19 November 2007. Retrieved 3 August 2008. 


Legal offices
Preceded by
Liam Hamilton
Chief Justice of Ireland
Succeeded by
John L. Murray