First Female Chief Justice For IrelandJuly 22, 2011 No Comments
Women make the law in Ireland now. The Irish government has nominated Justice Susan Denham as the country’s new chief justice. She is the first woman, and also the first Protestant, to hold the position.
Denham, 65, has always been a pioneer in the Irish justice system. The daughter of Douglas Gageby, former editor of The Irish Times, she was called to the Bar in 1971 and became the first woman to be appointed a Supreme Court judge in 1992.
During her time there, she became known as “the last liberal” after Judge Catherine McGuinness retired. Her former colleague has strong praises for the incoming Chief Justice, who is well-known for writing the main opinion in a 2009 case that allowed a man access to his child who is being raised by lesbian parents.
“I am sure that she will have a good relationship with the Government in general and with the Department of Justice and Minister Shatter in particular,” she said. “Susan is an extremely fair-minded judge and she approaches every issue with utter independence.”
With the appointment of Senior Counsel Máire Whelan as the first female attorney general in March, the two most senior legal posts in Ireland are now held by women for the first time. With Denham’s history of reformative measures and Whelan’s political experience as the financial secretary of the Labour party, changes are afoot for the country’s judicial system.
There’s a new sheriff in town.
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