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Ivana Bacik

Assumed office 
July 2007
Preceded by Mary Henry
Constituency University of Dublin

Born 1968
Nationality Irish
Political party Labour Party
Alma mater Trinity College, Dublin,
London School of Economics
Religion Atheist
Website Official website

Ivana Catherine Bacik (born 1968) is an Irish politician and academic. She has been Reid Professor of Criminal Law, Criminology and Penology at Trinity College, Dublin (TCD) Law School since 1996, and was a made a Fellow of Trinity College Dublin in 2005. She was elected a Senator for the University of Dublin constituency of Seanad Éireann in July 2007.[1] She has an LL.B. from TCD and an LL.M. from the London School of Economics. She practises as a barrister, and teaches courses in Criminal law; Criminology and Penology; and Feminist Theory and Law at Trinity. Her research interests include criminal law and criminology, constitutional law, feminist theories and law, human rights and equality issues in law. She is known in particular for her pro-abortion campaigning since the 1990s, and her high media profile.[2]


Personal life

Her family name is of Jewish-Czech origin. 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, fleeing Stalin's takeover of his home country, eventually settling in Waterford. He brought much needed industrial skills to his new city, was involved in the establishment of Waterford Crystal in 1947, at a time when industrial employment in Waterford was in short supply.

Bacik lives with partner Alan and two daughters in a large red brick house in the Portobello area of Dublin.[3][4] Reading the Book The Women's Room by Marilyn French, at 17, greatly influenced her politics and around the same time, The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists by Robert Tressell was also very influential, conveying a powerful anti-capitalist message.[5]

University politics

As president of TCD Students' Union (TCDSU) (1989–90), she was taken to court by the pro-life group, The Society for the Protection of the Unborn Child (SPUC), for providing information on abortion. SPUC were successful in the court case, albeit that success came in the 1990s, long after Bacik had graduated from Trinity College.

National politics

Her career as a national politician commenced when she stood as a candidate for the Labour Party at the 2004 election to the European Parliament in the Dublin constituency.[6] She ran with sitting MEP Proinsias De Rossa, who was also the party president, on the same ticket. She polled 40,707 first preference votes (9.6%) but was not elected.

Despite this setback, Bacik remains a prominent member of the Irish Labour Party, representing the party on numerous occasions in public debates and in the media.

She did not stand as a candidate for the Labour Party at the 2007 general election. However, she contested the Seanad Éireann elections for the third time in the University of Dublin constituency, as an independent candidate and was elected a Senator on the eighth count, over the quota but behind Senator Shane Ross and Senator David Norris, who had already been elected. She previously contested that same election and constituency in 1997 and 2002 as an independent candidate, but had been unsuccessful.

In September 2006, Bacik was one of the 61 Irish academic signatories of a letter published in The Irish Times calling for an academic boycott of the state of Israel.[7]

In June 2009, Bacik was the Labour Party candidate for the Dublin Central by-election but failed in her attempt to be elected.[8][9]

Political positions

Bacik's policies may be described as left-wing or liberal and she has been described as "Labour's queen of political correctness".[10] She is in favour of decriminalising cannabis,[11] state-funded childcare, free contraception, abortion,[12] stricter environmental regulation, expanded social housing programmes, extended paid parental leave,[13] state funding of political campaigns,[14] gay rights (including same-sex marriage)[15] and a publicly-funded health care service, "based on need, not means".[16]

Non-political work

In 2006, Bacik acted as Junior Counsel in the unsuccessful Irish High Court case brought by Katherine Zappone and Ann Louise Gilligan (KAL case) over non-recognition of their Same-sex marriage by the Irish Revenue Commissioners. The case is currently on appeal to the Irish Supreme Court.


  1. ^ "Ms. Ivana Bacik". Oireachtas Members Database. Retrieved 21 June 2009. 
  2. ^ "Ivana Bacik, the media supergirl". Sunday Independent. 4 April 2004. 
  3. ^ "Has back-to-work Dati set a bad example for women?". Irish Independent. 13 January 2009. 
  4. ^ "Freedom, equality, Liberties". Sunday Tribune. 16 May 2004. 
  5. ^ "Library Ireland Week 2009: Libraries for Life". Library Ireland Week. 20 February 2008. 
  6. ^ "Ivana Bacik". Retrieved 21 June 2009. 
  7. ^ "Irish academics call on EU to stop funding Israeli academic institutions". Scholars for Peace in the Middle East. 16 September 2006. 
  8. ^ "RTÉ's Lee to stand for FG in Dublin South". RTÉ News. 5 May 2009. Retrieved 5 May 2009. 
  9. ^ "O'Sullivan dedicates her victory to Tony Gregory's legacy". The Irish Times. 8 June 2009. 
  10. ^ "Bacik should beware the German Oger". Irish Independent. 27 May 2004. 
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External links

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