Seán Ryan (Irish judge)

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The Hon. Mr Justice
Sean Ryan
President of the Court of Appeal
In office
28 October 2014 – March 2018
Nominated by Government of Ireland
Appointed by Michael D. Higgins
Preceded by Office created
Succeeded by George Birmingham
Judge of the High Court
In office
24 November 1996 – 28 October 2014
Nominated by Government of Ireland
Appointed by Mary Robinson
Personal details
Born Seán Philp Ryan
Clonmel, Tipperary, Ireland
Nationality Irish
Spouse(s) Andrea Hayes (m. 1994)
Children 3
Alma mater

Sean Philp Ryan is an Irish judge who served as President of the Court of Appeal until March 2018. He previously served as a Judge of the High Court from 2003 to 2014.[1]

As a barrister, he was Senior Counsel to the inquiry into abuse in the Catholic diocese of Ferns (the Ferns Report),[2] and was Chairman of the Compensation Advisory Committee that prepared guidelines on compensation to be paid to abuse survivors at the Residential Institutions Redress Board.[3]

In September 2003 Ryan was selected to head the Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse following the controversial resignation of the previous chair, The Hon. Miss Justice Mary Laffoy,[4] who claimed her work had been systematically obstructed by the Department of Education.[3] The government appointed him a High Court judge, without seeking a recommendation from the Judicial Appointments Advisory Board,[5] "to guarantee that the integrity and independence of the chairperson will be maintained."[2]

Ryan published the Commission's public report on 20 May 2009 and it was immediately hailed as "a work of incalculable value to this country"[6] and praised for its "meticulous gathering of evidence",[7] though "Justice has not been done as many of the abusers will never face the rigours of the law."[8]

In 2014 he was named by the Government as the President designate of the new Court of Appeal.[9] He was nominated as President of the court by the Government on 29 October 2014 [10] and appointed by the President of Ireland on the same day.[11]


  1. ^ "Retirement of Ryan report judge an 'enormous loss'". Dublin: Irish Times. 23 March 2018. Retrieved 26 April 2018. 
  2. ^ a b "One in Four welcomes Ryan's appointment". RTÉ. 26 September 2003. Retrieved 19 June 2009. 
  3. ^ a b "Laffoy inquiry faces threat of second collapse". The Sunday Business Post. 19 October 2003. Retrieved 19 June 2009. [permanent dead link]
  4. ^ "Laffoy quits Child Abuse Commission". RTÉ. 2 September 2003. Retrieved 19 June 2009. 
  5. ^ "Judicial Appointments Advisory Board: Annual Report 2003" (PDF). Irish Courts Service. p. 13. Retrieved 19 June 2009. 
  6. ^ "Report a monument to a society's shame". Irish Times. 21 May 2009. Retrieved 19 June 2009. 
  7. ^ Bunting, Madeleine (21 May 2009). "An abuse too far by the Catholic church". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 19 June 2009. 
  8. ^ "Child abuse scandal was Ireland's nightmare from hell". The Belfast Telegraph. 23 May 2009. Archived from the original on 9 December 2012. Retrieved 19 June 2009. 
  9. ^ Announcement of six Judges Designate of the Court of Appeal. (23 July 2014)
  10. ^ "Appointments to the Court of Appeal". 29 October 2014. 
  11. ^ "President appoints Appeal Court Judges". Áras an Uachtaráin. 28 October 2014. Archived from the original on 29 October 2014. 

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