Overview


Senator Ivana Bacik, LLB, LLM (Lond), BL, FTCD, is the Reid Professor of Criminal Law, Criminology and Penology at Trinity College Dublin (previously held by Mary Robinson and President Mary McAleese). She is a qualified Barrister, and a Senior Lecturer and Fellow of Trinity College Dublin (elected in 2005). She is a Senator for Dublin University (elected 2007, re-elected 2011 and again 2016). Her research interests include criminal law; criminology; feminist theory of law and equality law. She co-authored a major study on gender in the legal professions (Bacik, Costello and Drew, Gender InJustice, 2003), and her other publications include Legal Cases that Changed Ireland (co-edited with Mary Rogan, Clarus Press, 2016). She was Chairperson of the Oireachtas Vótáil 100 Committee organising a programme of events in 2018 to mark the centenary of women’s suffrage in Ireland. She was on the Executive of the Together for Yes campaign in the successful referendum to Repeal the Eighth Amendment in May 2018.

  • A 1989 Trinity Law graduate, she has a Masters from the London School of Economics and practised for years as a Barrister in Dublin. As President of TCD Students’ Union (1989-90), she was taken to court by SPUC for providing information on abortion - in a case that paved the way for legal change in favour of women’s rights and that prompted a long campaign to repeal the Eighth Amendment – a campaign that finally succeeded with a 66.4% vote in favour of Repeal in May 2018.
  • Ivana’s family name is Czech. Her grandfather Karel Bacik was in the Czech resistance and was imprisoned by the Nazis. After the war, he moved to Ireland with his young family, where they lived in Waterford.
  • Ivana contested Seanad elections in 1997 and 2002, and narrowly missed taking a seat in 2002. She was elected for the first time in 2007 and re-elected in 2011, and most recently in 2016. 
  • Proficient in Irish, Spanish and French, Ivana has lectured widely in Europe on legal, social and human rights issues. She has been active in many human rights campaigns with a European dimension.
  • Initiator of the Law Scholarships Scheme providing access to College for students from disadvantaged schools. An access scheme is now operative throughout the College under the auspices of the Trinity Access Programme.
  • Honorary Secretary of the TCD Law Alumni Association (1996 - 2004).
  • A College Tutor for ten years, and former member of the College Equality Committee and Student Health Committee at Trinity College.
  • Author and co-author of many academic books and publications on crime, criminology, human rights and constitutional law, her publications include ‘Kicking and Screaming: Dragging Ireland into the Twenty-First Century’ (O’Brien Press, 2004).
  • Contributor to a leading Irish criminological text, Criminal Justice in Ireland (O’Mahony, ed, 2002).
  • One of the three co-ordinators of a major Government-funded study of gender in the legal professions, published as Gender Injustice (TCD Law School, 2003).
  • Editor of the Irish Criminal Law Journal until 2003.
  • Regular contributor to: the Irish Times and Irish Independent newspapers; debates on RTE and Virgim Media channels; and other media.
  • Former Board Member, Friends of the Earth Ireland; and Corn Exchange Theatre Company
  • Columnist with Gay Community News from July 2003 - December 2005.
  • Board member, Irish Family Planning Association until 2004; Irish Penal Reform Trust until 2003.
  • Former Executive member of: Irish Council for Civil Liberties; TCD Lecturers’ Union, Irish Federation of University Teachers.
  • Honorary Patron of the Carlow and South Leinster Rape Crisis Centre; a Patron of the Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign.
  • A prominent spokesperson for the Alliance for a No Vote (ANV) in the successful campaign to defeat the referendum on abortion in March 2002.
  • A founder member of Lawyers Against the Amendment, a campaign group set up to call for a No vote in the Citizenship Referendum in June 2004.
  • A long-time activist with pro-choice and feminist campaigns, including campaigns to get the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Act 2013 and Rapporteur for the commission and report published by Labour Women to Repeal the Eighth Amendment, 2015 - 2016.
  • Diligently lead debates and raise issues as Leader of the Labour Party group in the Seanad, and Deputy Leader of the Seanad 2011-16; leader of the Labour Senators group 2016-18 and currently (2018-20) leader of the Seanad Technical Group (Labour Senators and Senator David Norris).
  • Leader of the Labour delegation to the Constitutional Convention, which took place over 2012-2014.
  • Worked with Senator David Norris on drafting the civil partnership legislation and contributed considerably to the hugely successful and important Marriage Equality Bill 2015. 
  • Chairperson of Portobello Educate Together multi-denominational school start-up group and campaign 2012-2014 and continue to work towards education equality. 
  • Member of the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Justice, Defence and Equality Committee. 2011- 2016, member of the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Foreign Affairs and Trade, 2016-20.
  • Co-Director with Dr. Mary Rogan of  ‘Changing Ireland, Changing Law’ project funded by the Irish Research Council and worked with work with PILA, the National Women’s Council of Ireland (NWCI), the Gay and Lesbian Equality Network (GLEN) and the Immigrant Council of Ireland (ICI). 2014-2015.
  • Member of the Lawyers for Yes Equality campaign during the Marriage Equality Referendum 2015 as well as canvassing with the Labour Party and Dublin Bay South Yes Equality team. 
  • Introduced the Equality (Miscellaneous Provision) Bill 2013 (Section 37.1), which became an Act in 2015 providing vital equality protections for teachers and healthcare workers. 
  • I introduced the Competition (Amendment) Act 2018, which commits to ensure protection of the right to collectively bargain for freelance workers, including journalists, actors and others, who perform their work on a self-employed or contract-for-services basis.
  • (2011-2016) Other bills that I led on or contributed to include: the Health (Regulation of Termination of Pregnancy) Act 2018; the Criminal Law (Sexual Offences) Act 2017; the Domestic Violence Act 2018; the Children and Family Relationships Act 2015; the 34th Amendment of the Constitution (Marriage Equality) Act 2015; the Gender Recognition Act 2016; the Climate Action and Low Carbon Development Act 2015.  
  • A radical feminist and left-wing voice in the Seanad.