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.