Cabinet approves judicial appointments


The president of the High Court, Mr Justice Finnegan, is to be appointed to the Supreme Court.

Two vacancies on the High Court will be filled by Peter Charleton SC and Judge Maureen Harding Clark. The changes were agreed yesterday by the Cabinet, with the appointments to be made by President McAleese.

Three new District Court judges will be appointed: Dympna Cusack, Patrick McMahon and Desmond Zaidan.

Mr Justice Joseph Finnegan, who moves to the Supreme Court, was born in October 1942. He was educated at Synge Street CBS, Dublin, St Mary's College, Dundalk, and University College Dublin. He qualified as a solicitor in 1966 and as a barrister in 1978, coming first in his final bar exams.

Mr Justice Finnegan practised as a solicitor from 1966 to 1978 and as a barrister from 1978 until he was appointed to the High Court in 1999. He was appointed president of the High Court in December 2001.

Mr Justice Richard Johnson, who will take over as president of the High Court, was born in October 1937. He was educated at CBC Tralee, Co Kerry, Glenstal Abbey in Co Limerick, and UCD. He qualified as a barrister at the King's Inns in 1960.

He was appointed a High Court judge in 1987.

Peter Charleton SC, who will be appointed to fill one of the vacancies on the High Court, is one of the country's leading barristers. He is currently counsel for the Morris tribunal.

Born in April 1956, he was educated at St Mary's College, Rathmines, and Trinity College Dublin, where he graduated in law in 1980. He was called to the bar in 1979 and the inner bar in 1995. He has published a number of books on legal subjects.

Judge Harding Clark, who will fill the other High Court vacancy, has served as a judge of the International Criminal Court since February 2003. Before that she was a judge of the International Tribunal for War Crimes in the Former Yugoslavia.

Dympna Cusack, who will be appointed a District Court judge, is a past pupil of Cross & Passion College, Mayfield, Dublin. After taking a diploma in Legal Studies at King's Inns, she qualified as a barrister in 1986.

A member of the Bar Council for two years, Ms Cusack has been in continuous practice at the bar, working primarily in Dublin but also travelling outside the capital with the Employment Appeals Tribunal. She was a member of the Refugee Appeals Tribunal from 1999 to 2002 and is currently vice-chair of the Employment Appeals Tribunal.

Patrick J McMahon was born in May 1943 and educated at Marist College, Athlone, University College Dublin, and the Incorporated Law Society, where he qualified as a solicitor.

Desmond A Zaidan was born in December 1962 and his early education took place in Lebanon and Sierra Leone. He attended Rockwell College before going to Trinity College Dublin, where he graduated with a BSc and an MA. He later studied at the King's Inns and was called to the bar in 1990.

He is a member of the Refugee Appeals Tribunal.