- Thomas Molony
Thomas Francis Molony (d. 1949) was the last
Lord Chief Justice of Ireland. [For a thorough overview, see: W.N. Osborough, Studies in Irish Legal History, Four Courts Press 1999, p 311 - 326.]
Early career and politics
Molony qualified as a
barristerin 1887 and became a Queen’s Counselin 1899. He served as Solicitor-General for Ireland(24 June 1912 to 10 April 1913) when he was appointed Attorney General of Ireland(10 April 1913 to 20 June 1913). Later in 1913, Molony was made a judge of the High Court for Ireland and from 1915 sat as a judge of the High Court of Appeal for Ireland. He was also appointed to several governmental inquiries, notably one on certain shootings including that of Francis Sheehy-Skeffingtonin the wake of the 1916 Irish Easter Rising.
In terms of his own politics, Molony has been described as "“a Home Ruler of the old stamp”". [W.N. Osborough, Studies in Irish Legal History, Four Courts Press 1999, p 316.] He was opposed to the partition of Ireland. When the
Government of Ireland Actwas being drafted he declined an invitation to travel to London to advise on proposals relating to the creation of a separate judiciary for what was to be " Northern Ireland". In correspondence with government officials, he expressed his particular disappointment that unlike previous Home RuleBills, it was now proposed that the Irish judiciary would be divided. He opined that this would impose unnecessary expense, lead to duplication of administrative expenses and that the proposals were "“detrimental to the dignity and authority of the Bench...and would tend to...prolong the separation of the two parts of Ireland, which it is hoped ultimately to re-unite”". [ W.N. Osborough, Studies in Irish Legal History, Four Courts Press 1999.]
Defending his title
Molony was appointed the
Lord Chief Justice of Irelandin 1918 under Letters Patentfrom the King under the Great Seal of Ireland. At the time of his appointment, this was the second highest judicial posting in Ireland, second only to that of the Lord Chancellor of Ireland. However, Molony’s position was shortly to be under attack. In 1920 the British Government began drafting Home Rule legislation which ultimately led later that year to the Government of Ireland Act. The draft legislation proposed that the "Lord Chief Justice of Ireland" would become the " Lord Chief Justice of Southern Ireland". Molony "“expressed disquiet at the apparent proposal to lessen the dignity and prerogatives of his own office”". [ W.N. Osborough, Studies in Irish Legal History, Four Courts Press 1999.] He sought the retention of the title of "Lord Chief Justice of Ireland", at the very least for as long as he still held that post personally. In a letter to the Chief Secretary for Ireland, Molony sought an amendment to the legislation to insert a clause to provide that “nothing in the legislation shall affect the rank, title or precedence of the existing Lord Chief Justice of Ireland” (i.e. Molony). The Chief Secretary responded to the effect that it would be anomalous for there to be a "Lord Chief Justice of Ireland" and a "Lord Chief Justice of Northern Ireland". Molony countered this by pointing to one such anomaly that was universally accepted: [ W.N. Osborough, Studies in Irish Legal History, Four Courts Press 1999.]
Molony corresponded with a number of other prominent members of the British administration including the Home Secretary. He argued that the withdrawal of his title was “unconstitutional and unjust” and that his option to retire was no answer at a time when his “retirement would certainly be regarded as a triumph for the forces of disorder”. Later, in October, Molony travelled to London to address a Cabinet Committee on the matter but this was not a success and Molony bemoaned how little interest in Irish affairs was taken by the government. As the Government of Ireland Bill left the House of Commons in November 1920, Molony sought the support of a number of
Law Lords. Finally, the government compromised on the matter: An amendment to the effect that the "Lord Chief Justice of Ireland" would if he consented become the first "Lord Chief Justice of Southern Ireland" but would keep his title and rank (as well as certain non-judicial offices) was accepted.
Highest judge in the land
On 6 December 1922 (i.e the day the
Irish Free Statecame into being), the position of " Lord Chancellor of Ireland" was abolished. [Schedule II, Part II, Irish Free State Consequential Provisions Act 1922, a United Kingdomstatute] The leadership of the judiciary in the emerging Irish Free State now fell to Molony. That same year, the Irish civil warbegan. The Four Courtswere burnt down. It was not an easy time to be a judge with violence raging and a new Irish government coming into power whose members had themselves shortly before been rebels. Molony made an effective and dignified attempt to proceed with "business as usual" and uphold the laws of the land. Among the most notable duties which Molony carried out during this time was to administer the oath of office to the first Governor-General of the Irish Free State.
In May 1924, together with most other members of the Irish judiciary associated with the "ancien regieme", Molony retired as the Irish government established its own court system under
The Courts of Justice Act 1924. The office of "Lord Chief Justice of Ireland" and indeed of "Lord Chief Justice of Southern Ireland" were abolished. His successor as leader of the judiciary was the first Chief Justice of the Irish Free State. Molony retired to England but was made Vice-Chancellorof Trinity College Dublinin 1931. Molony died in 1949.
Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.
Look at other dictionaries:
Molony Baronets — The Molony Baronetcy, of the City of Dublin, is a title in the Baronetage of the United Kingdom. It was created on 21 January 1925 for Thomas Molony, the former Lord Chief Justice of Ireland. The third and (as of 2010) present holder does not use … Wikipedia
Thomas Joseph Carr — (10 May 1839 – 6 May 1917), was the second Roman Catholic archbishop of Melbourne, Australia.Early lifeCarr was born near Moylough, Galway, Ireland, and educated at St Jarlath s College, Tuam, and at Maynooth, where he did a brilliant course. He… … Wikipedia
David Molony — (23 August 1950 – 4 September 2002) was an Irish Fine Gael Party Senator and TD. Born in Thurles, County Tipperary, he qualified as a lawyer and in the 1970s he worked with FLAC, a voluntary group providing free legal aid, eventually became FLAC… … Wikipedia
Chief Justice of Ireland — Der Chief Justice of Ireland (irisch: Phríomh Bhreitheamh na hÉireann) ist der Präsident und Oberste Richter des Supreme Court, des Obersten Gerichtshofs der Republik Irland. Inhaltsverzeichnis 1 Aufgaben und Funktionen 2 Liste der Obersten… … Deutsch Wikipedia
Lord Chief Justice of the King's Bench for Ireland — The Court of King s Bench (or Court of Queen s Bench during the reign of a Queen) was one of the senior courts of common law in Ireland. It was a mirror of the Court of King s Bench in England. The Lord Chief Justice was the most senior judge in… … Wikipedia
Solicitor-General for Ireland — The Solicitor General for Ireland was the holder of an Irish and then (from the Act of Union 1800) United Kingdom government office. The holder was a deputy to the Attorney General for Ireland, and advised the Crown on Irish legal matters. In the … Wikipedia
Attorney-General for Ireland — The Attorney General for Ireland was an Irish and then (from the Act of Union 1800) United Kingdom government office. The holder was senior to the Solicitor General for Ireland, and advised the Crown on Irish legal matters. With the establishment … Wikipedia
Lord Chief Justice of Ireland — The Lord Chief Justice of Ireland was the second most senior Irish judge under English rule and later while Ireland was part of the United Kingdom. Additionally, for a brief period between 1922 and 1924, the Lord Chief Justice of Ireland was the… … Wikipedia
Allied invasion of Sicily — Sicilian Campaign Part of Italian Campaign of World War II The U.S. Liberty ship Robert Rowan explodes after being hit by a German … Wikipedia
Operation Husky order of battle — is a listing of the significant formations that were involved in the campaign for Sicily, July 10 – August 17, 1943. Contents 1 Allied Forces 1.1 Allied Naval Forces Mediterranean 1.2 Allied 15th Army Group … Wikipedia