Retired supreme court judge, former senator and lifelong activist, Judge Catherine McGuinness was appointed this week as chair of NUI Galway's Údarás na hOllscoile (governing authority ).
Údarás na hOllscoile, the University's Governing Authority, is responsible for managing and controlling all of the affairs of the university. In January 2012 she was appointed to the Council of State by President Michael D Higgins. Judge McGuinness was called to the Bar in 1977 and to the Inner Bar in 1989. She was a member of Seanad Éireann from 1979-82 and was previously a member of the Council of State from 1988-90. Judge McGuinness served as a judge of the circuit court from 1994-1996; of the high court from 1996-2000; and of the supreme court from 2000-2006. From 2005-2011 she was president of the Law Reform Commission. She is currently adjunct professor of law at NUI Galway.
In addition to her judicial career, Catherine McGuinness has served on the Employment Equality Agency, the Forum for Peace and Reconciliation, and the Irish Universities Quality Board. In June 2011 she became patron of the Irish Refugee Council and in November 2011 she was appointed chairperson of the ‘Campaign for Children’. She has also just completed her role as personal representative to the Minister for Foreign Affairs through Ireland’s chairmanship of the OSCE during 2012 in the field of human rights and on the freedom of religion.
Speaking of the appointment, Dr Jim Browne, president of NUI Galway, said: “Judge Catherine McGuinness brings a unique breadth of experience and judgment to the role of chairperson of Údarás na hOllscoile. We are delighted and privileged that she will chair the university's governing authority for the next three years. My colleagues and I look forward to working with her to further develop NUI Galway and our ambitious plans for the future.”
Commenting on her appointment Judge McGuinness said: “I am hugely honoured to be appointed as chair of the governing authority. I have many connections with Galway, even apart from being adjunct professor at the School of Law here at NUI Galway, and am delighted to be able to strengthen these connections and I hope over the next few years to help the university in achieving its mission.”
Judge McGuinness’s term of office extends to 2016.