Declan Costello

Declan Costello (1 August 1926 – 6 June 2011) was an Irish judge, barrister and Fine Gael politician who served as President of the High Court from 1995 to 1998, a Judge of the High Court from 1977 to 1998 and Attorney General of Ireland from 1973 to 1977. He served as a Teachta Dála (TD) for the Dublin North-West constituency from 1951 to 1969 and for the Dublin South-West constituency from 1973 to 1977.[1]

Declan Costello
President of the High Court
In office
1 August 1995  12 October 1998
Nominated byGovernment of Ireland
Appointed byMary Robinson
Preceded byHarry Whelehan
Succeeded byFrederick Morris
Judge of the High Court
In office
1 June 1977  3 September 1998
Nominated byGovernment of Ireland
Appointed byPatrick Hillery
16th Attorney General of Ireland
In office
15 March 1973  19 May 1977
TaoiseachLiam Cosgrave
Preceded byColm Condon
Succeeded byJohn M. Kelly
Teachta Dála
In office
February 1973  June 1977
ConstituencyDublin South-West
In office
May 1951  June 1969
ConstituencyDublin North-West
Personal details
Declan John Costello

(1926-08-01)1 August 1926
Fairview, Dublin, Ireland
Died6 June 2011(2011-06-06) (aged 84)
Beaumont Medical Clinic, Dublin, Ireland
Resting placeShanganagh Cemetery,
Shankill, Dublin, Ireland
Political partyFine Gael
Spouse(s)Joan Costello
(m. 1954; d. 2011)
Children5, including Caroline
Alma materUniversity College Dublin

Costello was born in Dublin, the son of John A. Costello who served as Taoiseach on two occasions. He was educated at University College Dublin (UCD), and was an auditor of the UCD Law Society. At the 1951 general election he was elected to Dáil Éireann as a Fine Gael TD for the Dublin North-West constituency and was re-elected at every subsequent election until he stood down at the 1969 general election.[2] He stood again in the Dublin South-West constituency at the 1973 general election, and was elected for a final time, to the 20th Dáil.[2]

During the 1960s Fine Gael was out of power and Costello was leader of a new generation of Fine Gael politicians who wanted to move the party to the left. He persuaded the party to publish a document called Towards a Just Society, which supported economic planning and more government intervention in the economy.[3] This document went on to define what Fine Gael stood for over the following twenty years.

When Fine Gael returned to government in 1973, Costello was appointed Attorney General of Ireland under Taoiseach Liam Cosgrave. He served in that position until 1977, when he finally left politics to become a Judge of the High Court. In 1979, he presided over the Costello Inquiry into the Whiddy Island Disaster. He was appointed President of the High Court in 1994 and retired in 1997. Costello died in 2011.[3]

See also


  1. "Declan Costello". Oireachtas Members Database. Retrieved 21 August 2012.
  2. "Declan Costello". Retrieved 21 August 2012.
  3. "Tributes paid to Declan Costello". RTÉ News. 6 June 2011.
Legal offices
Preceded by
Colm Condon
Attorney General of Ireland
Succeeded by
John Kelly
Preceded by
Harry Whelehan
President of the High Court
Succeeded by
Frederick Morris