The Irish Supreme Court has come under scrutiny as pro-life groups consider legal challenges to the abortion bill recently signed by the President. Four of the current eight-member Court previously publicly opposed the 1983 amendment which sought to give legal protection to the unborn child.
The Court currently has eight members, Chief Justice, Susan Denham, and the ordinary judges of the court, John Murray, Adrian Hardiman, Nial Fennelly, Dónal O Donnell, Liam McKechnie, Frank Clarke and John Mac Menamin.
In 1983 Frank Clarke, John Mac Menamin, Adrian Hardiman and Nial Fennelly, then practising barristers, wrote a letter to the papers opposing the Eighth amendment to the Constitution.
Justice Dónal O Donnell was appointed to the Court straight from the Bar, and had previously argued against recognising the right to life of a child with anencephaly in the D case in 2007. Judge McKechnie heard the D case, and his ruling was widely condemned by pro-life groups and disability activists when he described the baby at the centre of the case as “an aberration of nature”.
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