Dublin City University (DCU) has today unveiled a commissioned portrait of former Justice Mella Carroll who served as Chancellor of the University from 2001 and chair of the Governing Authority before her untimely passing in 2006.
Carroll, who has been described as a “woman of many firsts”, was a pioneering and fearless lawyer in a profession dominated by men in her lifetime.
Born in Dublin, she obtained a BA (French and German) at University College Dublin and qualified as a barrister at the King’s Inn (1957), where she was awarded the Brooke scholarship after coming first in her class.
In 1976 she became only the second woman in Ireland to be appointed senior counsel and was the only woman to chair the Bar Council (1979). She was the first woman appointed to the High Court bench in 1980.
She served as a judge for almost a quarter of a century, during which time she presided over a wide and varied range of hugely important cases in the High Court, earning enormous respect for the quality and balance of her judgments.
Throughout a distinguished career, Justice Carroll chaired a series of high-profile commissions in Ireland, including the first Legal Aid Board.
Her report on the Commission on Nursing (1997-98) marked the most significant milestone in the history of nursing and midwifery in Ireland, by highlighting the independence of the nursing profession and recommending that nursing education be undertaken within the university sector.Carroll also served as vice-president of the Administrative Tribunal of the International Labour Organisation in Geneva (1987-2002) and President of the International Association of Women Judges
President of DCU, Prof Daire Keogh said “Vera Klute’s wonderful portrait is a fitting tribute to Ms Justice Mella Carroll and her many accomplishments, both as DCU Chancellor and during an extraordinary career that led to her appointment in 1980 as the first female judge of the High Court where she served for 24 years.
“A trailblazer for women in law and society, there is a great affection for Mella at DCU. We are proud, through this commission, and those recently unveiled in the Accenture Women on Walls initiative at DCU, to showcase role models to our students.”