“UCD was fortunate to have the name of Cearbhall Ó’Dálaigh
among its most distinguished and inspirational alumni - a great lawyer, perhaps even
the greatest, a man utterly unafraid of putting principle before position and
a truly good, decent human being,” the President of Ireland, Mary McAleese, remarked in her speech
at the recent UCD Law Society Ó’ Dálaigh dinner held in Dublin Castle on 25 March.
President McAleese added that he was not a man of the past ‘but a
man for the future we are building on the foundations he dug the hard way ’ .
She noted he had begun life in the same year as the UCD Law
Society was formed and had passed away 25 years ago on 21 March 1978. “I first came to live in
Dublin in 1975, when he was in his first year as President.”
She said President Ó’Dálaigh, a former Chief Justice, ‘was one of
the most subtle and effective architects of change, articulating a fearless vision in which the rights of
the individual and the State and the separation of powers were painted
with a unique clarity’.
“He infused a dynamism into Irish constitutional law which
brought it to life, making it a hugely important working tool in the lived lives
of our citizens. ”
Guests at the dinner also included Dr Martin
McAleese; the Registrar, Dr Caroline Hussey; Professor Paul O’Connor,
dean of the Faculty of Law; Attorney General Rory Brady SC; Minister for
Justice, Equality and Law Reform, Michael McDowell; The Honourable Mr Ronan Keane, Chief Justice; Liam
O’ hAnmhaile, a nephew of Cearbhall Ó’Dálaigh; The Chinese Ambassador, HE Sha Hailin.
The dinner was attended by more than 130 law practitioners and by
over 70 UCD students.