Irish lawyer Siofra O’Leary appointed judge at ECHR

European Court of Human Rights appoints UCD and European University Institute graduate

Siofra  O’Leary will serve a nine-year term at the European Court of Human Rights. File photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

Siofra O’Leary will serve a nine-year term at the European Court of Human Rights. File photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

 

Irish lawyer Siofra O’Leary (46) has been appointed a judge at the European Court of Human Rights.

Ms O’Leary was one of three Irish candidates nominated by the Government earlier this year for the position.

Ms O’Leary replaces Ann Power, who has been Ireland’s representative at the Court since 2008.

A graduate of University College Dublin and the European University Institute (EUI) in Florence, Ms O’Leary is currently head of union at the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg.

As well as her career at the European Court of Justice, Ms O’Leary has held fellowships at Emmanuel College, Cambridge University and the College of Europe at Bruges.

Nine-year term

Ms O’Leary will serve a nine-year term on the court.

Minister for Foreign Affairs Charlie Flanagan congratulated Ms O’Leary on her appointment.

Ireland attaches the highest importance to the European Court of Human Rights as the cornerstone of human rights protection in Europe,” he said.

“It needs high-calibre judges, and I have no doubt that Dr O’Leary meets this standard and that she will perform their functions as a judge of the European Court of Human Rights with the highest degree of professionalism.”

The European Court of Human Rights is an international court established by the Convention of Human Rights.

It has made a number of landmark judgments relating to Ireland, including David Norris’s landmark action against the State in 1979 which led to the decriminalisation of homosexuality in Ireland, and the more recent ABC abortion case which found the State was in breach of the Convention on Human Rights in relation to abortion law.