Top marks for O'Donoghue as he's called to bar
FORMER Justice Minister and Ceann Comhairle John O'Donoghue has qualified as a barrister – finishing his studies with top marks.
The former Fianna Fail politician was a solicitor who practised in south Kerry, before turning to politics 30 years ago.
He quit as parliament chairman in October 2009 after repeated controversy about his office's travel costs, and lost his Dail seat in February 2011 after 24 years as a TD.
Mr O'Donoghue was called to the bar yesterday and was one of only 13 new barristers to receive a merit, placing him in the top group of his year.
The 58-year-old lawyer and former politician could have taken an easier route to his barrister qualification, by returning to work as a solicitor and then transferring to the barrister's branch of law. But Sean Aylward, Under Secretary of the King's Inns, the body that educates barristers, said he had "chosen to do it the hard way".
Mr O'Donoghue is now one of 2,300 qualified barristers in Ireland. His family is steeped in Fianna Fail politics with bothhis father and mother serving on Kerry County Council.