Turlough O'Donnell

Towards excellence in Mediation

From the Act: structure and support and from the Mediator: grace, compassion and beginners mind.

Turlough O’Donnell

                Born and grew up in Belfast.

  • Graduated in law from University College, Dublin 1978. Graduated from Kings Inns 1979 degree - Barrister of Law.
  • Called to the Irish Bar 1979.
  • Called to the Senior Bar 1997.
  •  Elected to the General Council of the Bar of Ireland in 2004 and from 2004 to 2006 chaired the Arbitration and ADR Committee of the Bar Council.
  • Chairman of the General Council of the Bar of Ireland 2006 - 2008.  Former Board Member of Northside Community Law Centre.   Served as Chairman of the Ethics Committee of Children’s University Hospital (Temple St) from April, 2000 to January 2005.  Former member of the Irish Council for Bioethics.  Former Board Member of the Glecree Centre for Peace and Reconciliation.
  • Qualified as a CEDR approved Mediator in September 2007.
  •  In practice as a mediator since July, 2006.    Since then he has acted as mediator in a large number and wide variety of cases and acted pro-bono as an advisor to the Magdalene Commission in 2013 and as facilitator in the dispute between the GPA and the GAA which was resolved in 2009.   More recently he was quoted in the Scally report into the Cervicalcheck screening programme as follows:

“The lesson for us all whether in administration or in the legal system, is that cost effectiveness and efficiency are not enough. There is room in our systems for more grace and compassion and we should dare to believe in the possibility of achieving that”.

The phrase “grace and compassion” comes from a landmark judgement of Justice Albie Sachs of the South African Consitutional Court.   In Turlough O’Donnell’s view grace and compassion is what mediation is all about.


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