Supreme Court judge Marie Baker nominated to chair Electoral Commission

Cabinet approves move to notify President of nomination

Supreme Court judge Marie Baker has been nominated to chair the Electoral Commission on foot of a recommendation made by the Chief Justice.

Minister for Housing Darragh O’Brien received approval from the Cabinet to notify President Michael D Higgins about the nomination.

The Electoral Commission will be directly accountable to the Oireachtas. It will now be established in the coming days, a Government spokesman said.

Ms Justice Baker was appointed a judge of the Supreme Court in 2019. She was called to the Bar in 1984 and was called to the Inner Bar in 2004. She practised on the Cork and Munster circuits.


The new Electoral Commission is expected to be operational by the time the next scheduled elections take place in Ireland next year, in 2024. The long-promised commission will carry out functions such as deciding electoral boundaries, providing full information on referendums, registering political parties, and the oversight of media and online political advertising.

In addition to its regulatory and governance functions, the new commission will also have several new electoral functions including a research, advisory and public education role, the regulation of online political advertising during electoral periods, the maintenance of electoral integrity during electoral periods, the oversight of the electoral register and reporting on the administration of electoral events.

The Cabinet also considered a report brought by Minister for Finance Michael McGrath on the level of Irish public debt, which is now estimated at €226 billion. While this is 10 per cent lower than pre-pandemic levels, Ministers were warned that any shock to corporate tax revenues would have a significant impact on the public finances. Ireland’s public debt per capita is one of the highest in the world.

The Cabinet was told that despite the downward trajectory in the level of debt, there are still risks arising from the war in Ukraine and resulting energy crisis.

Jennifer Bray

Jennifer Bray

Jennifer Bray is a Political Correspondent with The Irish Times