Supreme Court judge Donal O’Donnell to become next Chief Justice

Belfast-born judge to succeed Frank Clarke, who is due to retire on October 10th

Mr Justice O’Donnell was called to the Bar in 1982 and appointed a senior counsel in 1995. Photograph: Collins Courts

Mr Justice O’Donnell was called to the Bar in 1982 and appointed a senior counsel in 1995. Photograph: Collins Courts

 

The Cabinet has formally decided to nominate Supreme Court judge Donal O’Donnell to be the next Chief Justice.

Mr Justice O’Donnell, who was selected at the beginning of the summer, will succeed Chief Justice Frank Clarke, who is to retire on October 10th.

Mr Justice O’Donnell (63) was born in Belfast where his father, the late Turlough O’Donnell, was a senior judge and one of the few Catholic judges of his generation in Northern Ireland.

Educated at St Mary’s Christian Brothers’ Grammar School in Belfast, University College Dublin, King’s Inns and the University of Virginia, Mr Justice O’Donnell was called to the Bar in 1982 and appointed a senior counsel in 1995.

He was appointed directly to the Supreme Court from the Bar in 2010, a promotion only usually attained by outstanding lawyers. He has been considered one of the intellectual heavyweights of the court since his appointment.

Mr Justice O’Donnell is married to the artist Mary Rose Binchy, and the couple live in south Dublin.