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Moya O’Connor centenary
A Mayo Solicitors’ Bar Association celebratory dinner honoured solicitors Joseph King (Westport), Michael J Egan (Castlebar), and Moya O’Connor (Swinford), who had completed 50 years in practice as solicitors

24 May 2023 / Law Society Print

Lasting legal legacy

The Gazette continues its series marking the centenary of the first women in Ireland to qualify as solicitors. For more information about related events during the year, see www.lawsociety.ie/centenary

Mayo woman Moya O’Connor was admitted to the Roll of Solicitors in 1941 and joined the family firm. Her legal legacy has inspired four nephews and two grand-nephews to follow in her footsteps.

Moya O’Connor, from Swinford in Co Mayo, was born in 1917 and educated at Taylor’s Hill Secondary School in Galway and later at UCD, where she obtained a BA in Legal Science.

Moya was admitted to the Roll on 14 July 1941. She joined the family law firm of P O’Connor & Son, practising alongside her father Patrick (who was admitted to the Roll in December 1900), her brother Thomas (president of the Law Society in 1972/73), and her nephews Pat O’Connor (Law Society president in 1998/99), Tom, and John.

She served as deputy coroner for east Mayo for over 40 years and was also actively involved in many clubs and societies in Swinford and throughout the county. She was chair of the Mayo Branch of the National Council for the Blind.

An avid reader, Moya lived in ‘The Cottage’ with her sisters Biddy and Cara, who predeceased her. Her brother John W O’Connor was a barrister who practised on the Western Circuit and later became a judge of the Circuit Court and subsequently the Special Criminal Court, until his death on 6 June 1978.

Her four nephews, Pat (coroner for Mayo), Tom (consultant solicitor), John (Circuit Court judge) and Tony (High Court judge), were admitted to the Roll of Solicitors, as were her two grand-nephews, William and Christopher (in 2011 and 2018 respectively).

In a tribute to Moya at Ballina District Court following her death on 13 July 1998, Judge Dan Shields described her as “an outstanding solicitor – one of the longest serving and most distinguished in the county”.

Sources: past-president of the Law Society Pat O’Connor (nephew) and other family members provided much of the above information for the book Celebrating a Century of Equal-opportunities Legislation – The First 100 Women Solicitors, published by the Law Society of Ireland.

Read and print a PDF of this article here.