Seven are appointed to Council of State

PAUL CULLEN, Political Staff

A BRITISH Labour Party councillor has been chosen by President Michael D Higgins as one of his appointees to the Council of State.

Sally Mulready, a councillor in Hackney in London, is a prominent emigrant rights activist in Britain who moved there from Dublin in the 1970s.

A former secretary of the Federation of Irish Societies, she was involved in the campaign to free the Birmingham Six and is currently involved in the Magdalene laundries issue.

Otherwise, lawyers, academics, and NUI Galway feature strongly in the list of appointees.

His choices include a long-time friend and former colleague at NUI Galway, retired history professor Gearsid S Tuathaigh, and retired Supreme Court judge Mrs Justice Catherine McGuinness. She is a former member of the council of state in the late 1980s and currently serves as an adjunct law professor at NUI Galway.

Prof Gerard Quinn of the Centre for Disability Law and Policy at the NUI Galway School of law has also been appointed, along with Prof Deirdre Heenan of the University of Ulster and human rights lawyer Michael Farrell.

Ruairm McKiernan (32), a social entrepreneur originally from Cootehill, Co Cavan, has also been appointed to the council.

During his presidential campaign, Mr Higgins promised that if elected president he would make sure the council was representative in an inclusive sense.

The Council of State is the body established under the Constitution to advise the President in the exercise of his powers.

Presidents can convene the council to consider legislation, but are not bound by its recommendations.

Aside from the seven appointed members, former presidents, taoisigh and chief justices sit on the council, along with ex officio members.

The ex officio members of the Council of State are Taoiseach Enda Kenny; Tanaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs Eamon Gilmore; Chief Justice Mrs Justice Susan Denham, Ceann Comhairle Sean Barrett, Seanad Cathaoirleach Senator Patrick Burke, president of the High Court Mr Justice Nicholas Kearns and Attorney General Maire Whelan.

The other members are former presidents Mary McAleese and Mary Robinson, former taoisigh Liam Cosgrave, John Bruton, Albert Reynolds, Bertie Ahern and Brian Cowen and former chief justices John L Murray, Thomas Finlay and Ronan Keane.

Outgoing members of the previous council of state who were not reappointed were: Daraine Mulvihill, Harvey Bicker, Anastasia Crickley, Mary Davis, Martin Mansergh, Enda Marren and Denis Moloney.

The council met to consider eight separate pieces of legislation during Mary McAleeses two terms as president.

PRESIDENT’S CHOICE: COUNCIL APPOINTEES

PROF GERARD QUINN

Director of the Centre for Disability Law and Policy at NUI Galway.

The centre is part of a new research institute which researches policy innovation covering age, child and family as well as disability.

A graduate of UCG, he holds a masters and doctorate in law from Harvard Law School. His specialisation is international and comparative disability law and policy.

He has worked in the European Commission and is a former member of the Irish Human Rights Commission.

RUAIRM McKIERNAN

A community activist and social entrepreneur, he is founder of the national youth organisation SpunOut.ie. He is also a founder and organiser of the Possibilities 2011 Social Summit.

A business graduate, he is a recipient of numerous awards including a Social Entrepreneurs Ireland Award, a Net Visionary Award, and a Junior Chambers International Award.

After eight years as chief executive of SpunOut.ie, he recently stepped down to develop new social innovations.

MICHAEL FARRELL

The senior solicitor with Free Legal Advice Centres, Michael Farrell was involved in the civil rights movement in Northern Ireland and is a former co-chairman of the Irish Council for Civil Liberties.

He was a member of the Irish Human Rights Commission for 10 years until last year and is currently the Irish member of the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance. He is also a member of the human rights committee of the Law Society.

PROF GEARSID S TUATHAIGH

Retired history professor and a former dean of arts and vice-president of the National University of Ireland, Galway.

A former member of the Senate of the NUI and of the Irish-US Fulbright Commission, and a former cathaoirleach of Zdaras na Gaeltachta, Prof S Tuathaigh has published widely in Irish and English on many aspects of modern Irish history.

JUDGE CATHERINE McGUINNESS

Called to the Bar in 1977 and to the Inner Bar in 1989, she was a member of Seanad Iireann from 1979-82 and was previously a member of the council of state from 1988-90.

She served as a judge of the Circuit Court from 1994-1996, of the High Court from 1996-2000 and of the Supreme Court from 2000-2006.

From 2005-2011, she was president of the Law Reform Commission. She is currently the adjunct professor of law at the National University of Ireland, Galway.

PROF DEIRDRE HEENAN

Provost and dean of Academic Development for the University of Ulsters Magee Campus.

She is also a co-founder and former co-director of the Northern Ireland Life and Times Survey, which has become a key statistical resource for schools, academics and policymakers. Her areas of expertise are devolution, education and social care.

In 2008-9 she worked as a policy adviser in the Norths Office of the First and Deputy First Minister. Last year she was appointed by Minister for Health, Edwin Poots, to assist with the Review of Health and Social Care Services in Northern Ireland.

SALLY MULREADY

Born in Dublin, she moved to Hackney in London with her mother in the 1970s and has made a large contribution to the Irish emigrant community in Britain over many decades.

A Labour councillor in the borough of Hackney since 1997, she is a former secretary of the Federation of Irish Societies.

She is also a founder member of the Irish Womens Survivors Network and director of the Irish Elderly Advice Network.

She was prominently involved in the campaign to free the Birmingham Six and is currently active in the Magdalene laundries issue.

THE COUNCILS ROLE

The Constitution of 1937, Bunreacht na hIireann, provides that the President should have certain discretionary powers. These include the appointment of up to seven people of his or her choosing to the Council of State.

The council is composed of the Taoiseach, the Tanaiste, the Chief Justice, the president of the High Court, the Ceann Comhairle of Dail Iireann, the Cathaoirleach of the Seanad, the Attorney General, and former presidents, taoisigh and chief justices who are able and willing to act on the council. Aside from the seven appointed members, the current ex officio members of the Council of State are Taoiseach Enda Kenny; Tanaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs Eamon Gilmore; Chief Justice Mrs Justice Susan Denham, Ceann Comhairle Sean Barrett, Seanad Cathaoirleach Senator Patrick Burke, president of the High Court Mr Justice Nicholas Kearns and Attorney General Maire Whelan.

The other members are former presidents Mary McAleese and Mary Robinson, former taoisigh Liam Cosgrave, John Bruton, Albert Reynolds, Bertie Ahern and Brian Cowen; and former chief justices John L Murray, Thomas Finlay and Ronan Keane.

The President can convene the council to consider legislation. After consultation, the President may refer any Bill to the Supreme Court for a decision on whether it contains anything repugnant to the Constitution.

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18 Comments.

  1. Paddy,your comments above are quite understandable because I have just discovered a comment by David on your website dated 10/01/2012 as follows: “I would like to nominate Paddy Doyle for The Freedom Of The City Award. At least his ego (doubt he has one) is not like a shadow following him around.

  2. ‘A Gentleman of the finest quality.’ Cor blimey Paddy I have been called some things over the years but never that. I would like to return the compliment and also to add that it was indeed a pleasure for me to meet your good self.

    No problem Albert, I guess in my brief description (of myself) I just wanted to say that I am also a survivor (how I hate that word) like many who contribute to this great site. One more thing, like Paddy, I was also very fortunate to have taken part in ‘States of Fear’ and I very much appreciated Mary Raferty (RIP) for allowing me the opportunity to talk about experiences of childhood in a disabled institution.

  3. I’m sure you’ll appreciate that it’s not my place to give out information about contributors to this website. I’ve had the pleasure of meeting David – a gentleman of the finest quality. You will I’m sure agree that I gave a simple answer to a simple question. Best wishes. Paddy.

  4. Paddy puts in comments as they arrive Albert.

  5. Apologies David, I didn’t see your reply above.

    Maybe Paddy inserted your reply after.

  6. Paddy, as you may well appreciate a simple question deserves a simple answer.

  7. David, it’s a great shame that you feel you should have to give an account of yourself. Of the thousands of comments posted on this website nobody has ever been asked who they were – that is until now. I suppose you could chalk it up to ‘a first’

  8. With great respect Albert, I suggest you direct the question to David as I’m not his ‘spokesperson’. I’ve no doubt that David can speak for himself. Paddy

  9. Paddy, its quite obvious David is a contributor to your website and I haven’t got a problem with that.
    Can I ask the Question again Paddy? David,who’s he?

  10. Allow me to answer your question Albert. I am nobody of great importance. I was born with Spina Bifida and spent almost eighteen years in an institution (Hospital) run by nuns from 1956 to 1973. I now live in UK.

  11. David is a contributor to this website just like any other person. Is there a problem with that? Paddy

  12. Can I ask a Question Paddy? David,who’s he?

  13. Monica, Sally has never jumped on any bandwagon. When I say ‘NOW’I don’t literally mean like yesterday. Sally has supported the Magdalens from the start whilst having continued her campaign for the rights of survivors of institutional abuse, not to mention in the earlier years, her committment to free the Birmingham Six (I hadn’t heard of Sally then but she was doing a lot of work behind closed doors just as she always has done). You don’t always have to hear of any one person in any communications with a particular cause simply because they are not in our faces unlike some in Ireland who can’t keep out of the news.

  14. David

    You just answered my question in your posting.
    “Sally has always being totally committed and neverending in her pursuit for justice for survivors and now the Madaglene Laundry Survivors”

    A lot of people seem to have jumped on the Magdalen Women’s bandwagon. When you say “NOW” I jumpted up in my seat here at the computer and wondered why all these years I’ve never heard of Sally Mulready in any communications regarding the Magdalen

    Strange, she must have jumped along with others onto the bandwagon

  15. I am thilled for Sally Mulready. To be appointed as one of the appointees to the ‘Council of State.’ Is a much long overdue recognition for all the incredibly hard work that Sally has done for survivors here in the UK and even for those non-survivors.’ Sally has always being totally committed and neverending in her pursuit for justice for survivors and now the Madaglene Laundry Survivors. My sincere CONGRATULATIONS to Sally and I know she will serve the President with the same committe she has serve the survivors. God Bless you Sally and I know you will do brilliant job.

  16. Paddy, Sally Mulready may be heavily involved in working on behalf of woman who were in Magdalene laundries but lets not forget that the 4 orders of nuns do not dispute that lots of other institutions had laundries attached and/or that women/girls/children worked in those laundries. In fact my husband is heavily involved with Senator Martin McAleese, Chair of the Inter-Departmental Committee and Mr. Alan Shatter, TD, Minister for Justice,and Equality to include the aforementioned in its report to the UN Committee.

  17. Sally Mulready is now a member of the Council of State, appointed by President Michael D. Higgins. She’s been involved in working with Irish women who now live in England but who left this country many years ago. Sally is also a elected Councillor in England and from what I’ve read she’s also heavily involved in working of behalf of women who were in Magdalene laundries. Paddy

  18. Can I just ask a question Paddy? Sally Mulready, who’s she?

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