Death of Limerick lawyer who served as Chief Justice and Attorney General

The late former Chief Justice John Murray.

JUSTICE Minister Simon Harris has led tributes to former Chief Justice and Limerick native John Murray who has died at the age of 79.

Mr Murray served as chief justice from 2004 until 2011 and retired as a judge of the Supreme Court in 2015. He had previously served as a judge of the European Court of Justice from 1992 to 1999.

He served twice as attorney general, from August to December 1982 and from 1987 to 1991.

Born in Limerick in 1943, he attended Crescent College in Limerick City;  Rockwell College in Tipperary; University College Dublin and the King’s Inns.

He qualified as a barrister in 1967 and established a successful practice dealing with commercial, civil, and constitutional law. He defended the late Independent Fianna Fáil TD Neil Blaney in the 1971 Arms Trial.

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In 1983, during his first term as attorney general, he drafted the wording of the Eighth Amendment to the Constitution, known as the anti-abortion amendment, which was overturned in the 2018 referendum.

In 2013, he was appointed chancellor of the University of Limerick and chairman of the university’s governing authority.

His brother, Michael Murray, retired as State Solicitor for Limerick City in 2017.

In a statement last night, Minister Harris expressed his condolences to Mr Murray’s wife Gabrielle, daughter Caitriona, son Brian, his grandchildren and wider family.

“Judge Murray was a most distinguished jurist who served twice as Attorney General, and for a remarkable twenty four years as a Judge, including on the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg, as a Judge of the Supreme Court, and as Chief Justice of Ireland from 2004 to 2011.

“He was rightly proud of the institutions of our State, and took pride in his own service in one of its great instiutions, the Supreme Court.

“He will be very much missed by his many friends and, of course, by his family,” Minister Harris added.