Thursday, November 26, 2009

The Dublin commission: Who's Who

The Dublin commission: Who's Who

CAROL COULTER, Legal Affairs Editor
Judge Yvonne Murphy is no stranger to the issue of child sex abuse. As a judge of the Circuit Court since April 1998, most of which she served in the Circuit Criminal Court, she presided over dozens, if not hundreds, of cases involving the abuse of children by relatives, teachers, clergy and others.

Among the cases she heard was one where the female victim of alleged incest sought to have her accused brother identified, but Judge Murphy ruled that this was not permitted by law. This ruling was later upheld by the High Court.

She sat on the Special Criminal Court from 2003 until her appointment to head the commission.

Before her appointment as judge she was a junior counsel, married to Adrian Hardiman who was one of the best-known senior counsel in the State before his appointment direct from the bar to the Supreme Court bench. The couple have three sons, of whom one is a barrister.

Although she qualified as a barrister in 1971, she did not go straight to practice. She worked as a civil servant, air hostess and as a journalist between 1971 and 1984. She was an RTÉ presenter and edited Industrial Relations News. She is the author of two books, J ournalists and the Law and Insider Dealing in Ireland .

She was special adviser to former tánaiste, Labour leader Michael O'Leary, though she was later considered to be closer to the PDs than the Labour Party.

She was called to the bar in both England and Northern Ireland as well as in Ireland. She was born in Co Donegal and worked on the Northern circuit.

Ita Mangan BL was called to the bar in 1987, but never practised as a barrister, working instead in welfare rights until her appointment to the commission.

Solicitor Hugh O'Neill qualified in 1980 and worked with Marcus Lynch, solicitor, prior to his appointment.

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