Biography Catherine McGuinness

Catherine McGuinness is a retired judge and activist. She is a former barrister, Senator, President of the Law Reform Commission and judge of the Circuit Court, justice of the High Court and Supreme Court of Ireland. In January 2012 she was appointed to the Council of State by President Michael D. Higgins. In May 2013 she was appointed Chair of the National University of Ireland Galway Governing Authority.

In April 2009 she was awarded a Lord Mayors Award by Dublin Lord Mayor Eibhlin Byrne for her contribution to the lives of children and families in the city through her pioneering work. 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. In November 2012 she won the Irish Tatler Hall of Fame Award.

In addition to her judicial career, McGuinness has served on the Employment Equality Agency, Kilkenny Incest Investigation, the Forum for Peace and Reconciliation, the National Council of the Forum on End of Life in Ireland, and the Irish Universities Quality Board. In June 2011 she became the patron of the Irish Refugee Council. The Irish Refugee Council purports to stand up for the human rights of asylum seekers and refugees. In November 2011 she was appointed Chairperson of the Campaign for Children.

She has received honorary doctorates from the University of Ulster, the National University of Ireland, the University of Dublin and the Higher Education and Training Awards Council (HETAC). In February 2013 McGuinness accepted the Honorary Presidency of Trinity College Dublin’s Free Legal Advice Centre.