Thomas Teevan (attorney general)

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Thomas Teevan (1903–1976) was an Irish barrister and judge.

He was born in County Cavan, the second son of Dr. Francis Teevan and his wife Anne. The family moved to Dundalk where he went to the Christian Brothers School and then to University College Dublin. He initially qualified as a solicitor in 1925; was called to the Bar 1936, Senior Counsel 1946. He stood unsuccessfully for election at the 1948 general election. He served as Attorney General of Ireland from 1953–54. He was appointed a judge of the High Court in 1954 and served until 1971. He died in 1976.[1]

Thomas married Gertrude McCall (1904–2001) and they had two children. He was the uncle of the well-known journalist Kevin Myers who recalls his uncle with great affection as "a gentleman, scholarly and kind". Myers also wrote warmly about Teevan's son Richard (died 2001).

His first case as a judge was probably the most memorable: the unsuccessful libel action by Patrick Kavanagh against the Leader magazine. Such was the interest that members of the public queued for hours in the hope of getting into the courtroom.

As both barrister and judge he was an expert on rights of way, a field of law which he admitted did nothing to improve one's view of human nature. Giving judgement in the case of Connell v. Porter (21 December 1967) he described the behaviour of both parties as " disgusting" and made the memorable remark: "It is a strange paradox of our times that concurrently with so much alertness to personal rights, very many people flagrantly and callously do serious hurt to the feelings, rights and properties of others and expect immunity for their trespasses".


  1. ^ Casey, James " The Irish Law Officers " Round Hall Sweet and Maxwell Dublin 1996
Legal offices
Preceded by
Cearbhall Ó Dálaigh
Attorney General of Ireland
Succeeded by
Aindrias Ó Caoimh