The 2015 Irish Women Lawyers’ Association (IWLA) Annual Women Celebrating Women Lawyers Gala Dinner in collaboration with Law Society Skillnet and The Bar of Ireland, was held in the Presidents’ Hall, Law Society of Ireland on 24 October 2015. Thompson Reuters sponsored a welcome drinks reception.
Muriel Walls, Solicitor and Mary O’Toole SC were honoured as Joint Winners of the IWLA Woman Lawyer of the Year 2015 in recognition of their integral leadership in the Lawyers for Yes campaign for Marriage Equality which published The Case for Marriage Equality.
Muriel, of Walls & Toomey Solicitors has specialised in family law for over thirty years, is Chair of the Legal Aid Board and a former Partner with McCann FitzGerald Solicitors.
Mary is an expert in family law and human rights and has been involved in many recent high profile decisions in the area of surrogacy law.
The atmosphere at this celebration, with women lawyers from both professions and academia, was keenly captured by the evening’s Keynote Speaker Emily Logan, Chief Commissioner of the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission (IHREC) when she said:
“Something big happened in Ireland when we voted to amend Article 41 of our Constitution. Hearing a compelling personal testimony about the sting of discrimination still requires you to imagine what that must be like if you have not yourself experienced it – directly or indirectly – but it makes that task of imagining easier.
The two women being honoured tonight exemplify the very best of human rights advocacy and activism. They are stellar lawyers who see it as part of their professional and public duty to engage actively as citizens in the public square. Through the Lawyers for Yes group they brought critically important legal expertise to bear on the campaign for marriage equality.
The IHREC will play its part confident in the knowledge that, with allies like the 2015 IWLA Joint Women Lawyer of the Year, we are justified in our optimism and hopeful about the future for human rights and equality in Ireland and the world.”