Caoilfhionn Gallagher: ‘I’ve definitely got a dose of the ‘it’s not fair’ gene’

The human rights lawyer talks to Kathy Sheridan about life, law and learning to fly

Listen | 65:10

“From a very early age, I had a desire to do something that made a difference,” says human rights lawyer and newly appointed Special Rapporteur on Child Protection, Caoilfhionn Gallagher.

Speaking on the latest episode of The Irish Times Women’s Podcast, the barrister tells presenter Kathy Sheridan, “I’ve definitely got a dose of the ‘it’s not fair’ gene”.

Having once toyed with the idea of becoming an actress or a writer, Gallagher now works as a human rights lawyer for Doughty Street Chambers in London, where she acts in cases before various tribunals, such as the European Court of Human Rights, UN Special Procedures and the international courts.

During her twenty year career in London, she has also acted for bereaved families and survivors of the 7/7 London bombings and worked on the Hillsborough inquests into the deaths of 96 Liverpool FC fans in 1989.


In this episode, Gallagher, who grew up in Portmarnock Co Dublin, speaks about her journey into the legal profession, and how a road-traffic accident as a young woman, inspired her to stand up to injustice in the world.

We also hear about the Dubliner’s work protecting journalists across the globe, the expertise she hopes to bring to this new role in child protection and the peace she gets from taking flying lessons.

You can listen back to this episode in the player above, or wherever you get your podcasts.