Retired judge is thrilled with new 'honour'
Retired Supreme Court Judge Catherine McGuinness has said that it is a "very great honour" to have a new fellowship on Children's Rights and Child Law named after her.
The Children's Rights Alliance last night launched the new 'Catherine McGuinness Fellowship in Children's Rights and Child Law' in Dublin.
Speaking at the event, the mother-of-three described it as a "excellent opportunity" for all parties involved.
"It is absolutely a huge honour. I am really keen that this should work out very well," Ms McGuinness said.
"Thank you to the Bar Council of Ireland and the Family Lawyers Association for their support of this new fellowship.
"It gives a very good opportunity to young barristers to work in this interesting and important project aspect of the law.
"It is great to see young barristers come along and working in areas like this.
"I think it will be good for both sides, it will be a good asset for everyone."
The prestigious year-long fellowship programme will give a newly qualified barrister an opportunity to work as part of the Children's Rights Alliance Legal and Policy Team.
Tanya Ward from the Children's Rights Alliance said that they are "honoured that she is willing to allow our fellowship to be named after her".
"Judge Catherine McGuinness is undoubtedly one of Ireland's greatest children's champions," she added.
Also speaking at the event in the capital was Chief Justice Susan Denham, who delivered a lecture about the 80-year-old retired judge's career.
Last night she described her friend as "an advocate at heart", who is also a "patriot, in the true sense of the word".
"She stands up for the rights of others, particularly those who are marginalised and vulnerable in our society.
"She is an activist, a public intellectual and a lucid commentator," she added.
"She loves Ireland and cares for its people.
"She has gifted her formidable intellect to the service of the People of Ireland."
The organisation, which represents 100 different national groups, said that the "dedicated attention and legal expertise of a qualified barrister" will allow them to analyse and provide comments on more legislative proposals.
It will also help them to increase their engagements with the legal community, developing a greater "knowledge bank" on when children's rights are breached.
Chief Justice Denham said that this opportunity will allow a recently qualified barrister "make a positive contribution".
"Thus, it is a win-win situation, for the Children's Rights Alliance and for a newly qualified barrister," she added.
David Barniville, the chairman of the Bar Council, said that they are "very proud to support this Fellowship which will continue the great and inspirational work that Catherine McGuinness has done in this area."
"We are delighted to be associated with this initiative and look forward to working closely in its development," he added.