Ivana Bacik

Ivana Catherine Bacik (born 25 May 1968) is an Irish Labour Party politician who has served as Leader of the Labour Party in the Seanad since May 2011 and a Senator for the University of Dublin since July 2007. She previously served as Deputy Leader of Seanad Éireann from 2011 to 2016.

Ivana Bacik
Leader of the Labour Party in the Seanad
Assumed office
25 May 2011
LeaderEamon Gilmore
Joan Burton
Brendan Howlin
Preceded byPhil Prendergast
Deputy Leader of Seanad Éireann
In office
25 May 2011  6 May 2016
TaoiseachEnda Kenny
LeaderMaurice Cummins
Preceded byDan Boyle
Succeeded byCatherine Noone
Assumed office
24 July 2007
ConstituencyUniversity of Dublin
Personal details
Ivana Catherine Bacik

(1968-05-25) 25 May 1968
Dublin, Ireland
Political partyLabour Party
Domestic partnerAlan Saul
RelationsCharles Bacik (Grandfather)
EducationAlexandra College
Alma mater

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 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-choice campaigning since the 1980s, and her high media profile.[2]

Personal life

Her family name is of Czech origin. Her paternal grandfather, Karel Bacik, a Czech factory owner, moved to Ireland with his young family when the Communists began to take over private businesses. He eventually settled in Waterford and in 1947 was involved in the establishment of Waterford Crystal. Her mother's side of the family are Murphy's from County Clare.

Bacik lives with partner Alan and two daughters 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]

She was educated at Alexandra College, a fee-paying, girls' school in Miltown, Dublin.[6]

University politics

Her term as president of Trinity College Dublin Students' Union ended prematurely when she resigned in 1990, after it was discovered that she had broken a mandate received from the Union membership, regarding voting for candidates at a Union of Students in Ireland conference.[7] Despite 13 TCD representatives being mandated to vote for one candidate, Martin Whelan, a former TCD SU president, it transpired that candidate received only 12 votes, Bacik's vote instead being given to the feminist former UCD SU officer, Karen Quinlivan. A controversy erupted in the Students' Union and a subsequent internal investigation led to Bacik's resignation.

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.[8]

Politics and campaigns

Bacik's policies may be described as liberal and social democratic and she has been described as "Labour's queen of political correctness".[9]

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.[10] 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.

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 rival Independent candidates Shane Ross and 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.[11] In January 2009, she declared that she wants Ireland to break off diplomatic relations with Israel[12] and in February 2009 called for a general boycott of Israeli goods.[13]

In June 2009, Bacik was the Labour Party candidate for the Dublin Central by-election she came in third with 17% of the first preference votes.[14][15]

She joined the Labour Party group in the Seanad in September 2009,[1] and became Labour Party Seanad spokesperson for both Justice and Arts, Sports and Tourism.

In May 2010, she did not obtain Labour's nomination to run for the Dáil in Dublin South East.[16]

In December 2010, she was added to the ticket as the second candidate beside Labour Party leader, Eamon Gilmore, in the Dún Laoghaire constituency for the 2011 general election. Gilmore topped the poll, with Bacik receiving 10.1% of first preference votes but she was not elected.[17] She was re-elected to Seanad Éireann at the subsequent election, after which she became Deputy Leader of the Seanad.[18] She supported the Minister of Foreign Affair's decision to abstain on the UN vote on Gaza even though she describes herself as pro-Palestinian.

Non-political work

In 2006, Bacik acted as Junior Counsel in Zappone v. Revenue Commissioners, the unsuccessful Irish High Court case brought by Katherine Zappone and Ann Louise Gilligan over non-recognition of their same-sex marriage by the Irish Revenue Commissioners.


In 2019 Bacik was chosen by the Irish Women Lawyers Association as Irish Woman Lawyer of the Year.[19]


  1. "Ivana Bacik". Oireachtas Members Database. Retrieved 21 June 2009.
  2. Collins, Liam (4 April 2004). "Ivana Bacik, the media supergirl". Sunday Independent. Archived from the original on 3 August 2012.
  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. Archived from the original on 3 March 2016.
  5. "Library Ireland Week 2009: Libraries for Life". Library Ireland Week. 20 February 2008. Archived from the original on 5 September 2012.
  6. Holden, Louise (21 January 2014). "Single-sex or co-ed?". The Irish Times.
  7. Legal Eagle Swoops, Irish Times, August 13 2005.
  8. McNamee, Kathleen. "From TCDSU to the Seanad, How Student Politics Reach the National Stage". University Times. Retrieved 18 October 2017.
  9. "Bacik should beware the German Oger". Irish Independent. 27 May 2004.
  10. "Ivana Bacik". ElectionsIreland.org. Retrieved 21 June 2009.
  11. "Irish academics call on EU to stop funding Israeli academic institutions". Scholars for Peace in the Middle East. 16 September 2006.
  12. "The puzzle of Obama's pro-abortionism". Mary Kenny. 15 January 2009. Archived from the original on 21 July 2011.
  13. "Aftermath of Gaza offensive". The Irish Times. 2 February 2009.
  14. "RTÉ's Lee to stand for FG in Dublin South". RTÉ News. 5 May 2009. Archived from the original on 8 May 2009. Retrieved 5 May 2009.
  15. "O'Sullivan dedicates her victory to Tony Gregory's legacy". The Irish Times. 8 June 2009.
  16. "Quinn and Humphreys to run for Labour". The Irish Times. 26 May 2010.
  17. "Ivana Bacik to run for Labour in Dún Laoghaire". RTÉ News. 10 December 2010.
  18. "Election of Cathaoirleach; Wednesday, 25 May 2011". Seanad Éireann Debate, Vol. 208, No. 1. Retrieved 26 May 2011.
  19. Law Society Gazette, 1 August 2019
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