Jim O'Callaghan

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Jim O'Callaghan

Jim O'Callaghan (official portrait) 2020 (cropped).jpg
Teachta Dála
Assumed office
February 2016
ConstituencyDublin Bay South
Personal details
James O'Callaghan

(1968-01-05) 5 January 1968 (age 53)
Dublin, Ireland
Political partyFianna Fáil
Spouse(s)Julie Liston (m. 1997)
RelationsMiriam O'Callaghan (sister)
Alma mater

Jim O'Callaghan (born 5 January 1968) is an Irish Fianna Fáil politician who has been a Teachta Dála (TD) for the Dublin Bay South constituency since the 2016 general election.[1][2]

Legal career[edit]

O'Callaghan has a BCL degree from University College Dublin, a master's degree in law and an M.Phil. in criminology from Sidney Sussex College, at Cambridge University, and a barrister-at-law degree from the King's Inns.

In 2000, he represented Taoiseach Bertie Ahern in defamation proceedings against a businessman, appearing with future Attorneys General Rory Brady and Paul Gallagher.[3] As a barrister, he was made a senior counsel in 2008. O'Callaghan also served as a legal adviser to Fianna Fáil from January 2011 to his election to the Dáil. In 2014, he co-edited a book titled, Law and Government: A Tribute to Rory Brady.[4] O'Callaghan had devilled for Brady, who was later appointed Attorney General of Ireland.[5] O'Callaghan has represented many high-profile clients in defamation cases, including Louis Walsh, Julia Kushnir, Gerry Kelly, Ivan Yates, Jim Higgins, Denis O'Brien, Justin Timberlake, Rosanna Davison and Tulisa Contostavlos. He has also appeared in two of Ireland's largest commercial court disputes: Fyffes v DCC and Menolly Homes v Irish Asphalt Limited.

Political career[edit]

He was a member of Dublin City Council from 2009 to 2016. He unsuccessfully ran as a candidate for Fianna Fáil in the 2007 general election in Dublin South-East.[6] O'Callaghan practises as a barrister and is a senior counsel.[7]

He was a member of the Fianna Fáil negotiating team in talks on government formation in 2016.[8] Early on 9 April 2016, O'Callaghan's home hosted a covert meeting between O'Callaghan, Leo Varadkar, Deirdre Gillane (chief adviser of Micheál Martin) and Andrew McDowell (a policy adviser of Enda Kenny). It lasted for more than an hour.[9]

On 19 May 2016, he was appointed as Fianna Fáil Spokesperson for Justice and Equality, by party leader Micheál Martin. As the Opposition Spokesperson for Justice and Equality, he drafted and secured cross-party support his Parole Bill which was passed by the Oireachtas and became an Act.[10] It reformed the parole system giving victims of crime and their families the right to be heard during the parole process.

O’Callaghan also introduced a Judicial Appointments Commission Bill on 18 October 2016 that sought to amend the process by which judges were appointed. Although the Bill passed second stage of Dáil Éireann.,[11] it was not supported by the Fine Gael minority Government which instead pursueed legislation proposed by the Minister for Transport, Shane Ross, though with changes.[12]

In November 2016, O'Callaghan met with some of those who had been sexually abused as boys by Bill Kenneally, Fianna Fáil tallyman and cousin of former Fianna Fáil TD Brendan Kenneally.[13][14] Brendan Kenneally had previously acknowledged that he had been aware of his cousin's crimes before his sentencing to 14 years imprisonment.[13] On 10 July 2018 the Government established a Commission of Investigation under Judge Barry Hickson to investigate the Kenneally allegations.[15]

In July 2020 O'Callaghan declined the position of Minister of State at the Department of Justice in the Government of the 33rd Dáil offered to him by Taoiseach Micheál Martin, stating that he wished to remain on the backbenches, providing a voice in Fianna Fáil outside of government, while also making the party more attractive to younger voters.[16] The Phoenix suggested that this was a political manoeuvre designed to place O’Callaghan as a contender for the leadership of Fianna Fáil after the tenure of Michaél Martin.[17] In September 2020 O’Callaghan told RTÉ radio he was, in fact, interested in becoming the leader of Fianna Fáil following Martin.[18]

O’Callaghan was appointed as the party’s spokesman on justice matters by Martin on 17 December 2020.[19]

Personal life[edit]

He played rugby at a senior level, representing UCD, Cambridge University, London Irish, Wanderers, Leinster and Connacht. He was also capped for Ireland at under-21 level. He is a frequent cyclist, regularly cycling to Leinster House and advocates for the expansion of cycling infrastructure in Dublin.

He has four sisters,[20] one of whom is the Irish broadcaster Miriam O'Callaghan.[7]


  1. ^ "Jim O'Callaghan". Oireachtas Members Database. Retrieved 24 May 2019.
  2. ^ "Election 2016: Jim O'Callaghan". RTÉ News. 28 February 2016.
  3. ^ "Judge lets Ahern libel case proceed". The Irish Times. 12 December 2000. Retrieved 25 April 2020.
  4. ^ "Former Attorney General Brady was an 'incalculable loss'". Independent.
  5. ^ "Former Attorney General's funeral takes place". July 22, 2010 – via www.rte.ie. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  6. ^ "Jim O'Callaghan". ElectionsIreland.org. Retrieved 24 May 2019.
  7. ^ a b "Miriam O'Callaghan: In her prime". Sunday Independent. 20 June 2010.
  8. ^ McGee, Harry (12 March 2016). "Fianna Fáil's negotiating team for government talks revealed". The Irish Times.
  9. ^ "FG and FF agree minority government the only show in town". The Irish Times. 11 April 2016.
  10. ^ News, Irish Legal. "Bill to create independent statutory Parole Board approved by Oireachtas". Irish Legal News.
  11. ^ Second Stage Debate https://www.oireachtas.ie/en/debates/debate/dail/2016-10-26/27/
  12. ^ Irish Examiner https://www.irishexaminer.com/news/arid-30969911.html
  13. ^ a b Tiernan, Damien (25 September 2016). "Former TD 'was told cousin abused boys but he said nothing'". Sunday Independent. Retrieved 27 February 2020.
  14. ^ Parker, Christy (26 February 2020). "Mary Butler apologises for 'huge error of judgment'". Irish Examiner. Retrieved 27 February 2020.
  15. ^ Hickson Commission of Investigation commences work http://www.justice.ie/en/JELR/Pages/PR18000345
  16. ^ Bray, Jennifer; Kelly, Fiach; Leahy, Pat. "Full line up of junior ministers unveiled as Taoiseach accused by one TD of snub". The Irish Times. Retrieved 2020-07-01.
  17. ^ "PROFILE: JIM O'CALLAGHAN". The Phoenix. 16 July 2020. Retrieved 19 January 2021.
  18. ^ McConnell, Daniel (17 September 2020). "Jim O'Callaghan interested in Fianna Fáil leadership - just not now". Irish Examiner. Retrieved 19 January 2021.
  19. ^ Bray, Jennifer. "Martin appoints 18 Fianna Fáil TDs to spokesperson positions". The Irish Times.
  20. ^ "Jim O'Callaghan on growing up with five strong women - 'The house was dominated by feminism to a certain extent'". Independent.

External links[edit]

New constituency Teachta Dála for Dublin Bay South
With: Eoghan Murphy
Kate O'Connell
Eamon Ryan