The Attorney General has told the Supreme Court he is to step down from his position.

Senior Counsel Paul Gallagher has held the post for two years under the current Government, but it is expected he will retire when the Government changeover takes place and Leo Vardakar becomes Taoiseach on 17 December.

Mr Gallagher signalled his intention to retire as he paid tribute to Supreme Court judge Mr Justice John MacMenamin, who is retiring after almost two decades on the bench.

He told the court it would be the last time he would speak on the occasion of a senior judge's retirement before he steps down as AG in the coming weeks.

Mr Gallagher, who is 67, became Attorney General in June 2020, having previously held the position from 2007 to 2011.

He was among many leading figures in the Irish legal establishment paying tribute to Mr Justice MacMenamin.

Chief Justice Donal O’Donnell said Mr Justice MacMenamin had been heavily involved in a vast number of very important cases that had come before the courts over the last 50 years.

He said the judge had dealt with and ruled on many difficult and complex cases in areas including criminal law, commercial disputes, family and childcare actions and constitutional law.

Mr Justice John MacMenamin was a Supreme Court judge for ten years

Mr Justice MacMenamin’s particular dedication to cases involving highly vulnerable minors who had been let down by society was strongly praised.

The court also heard the judge believed justice should be accessible to all, regardless of their class or wealth.

Mr Justice MacMenamin is 70, the mandatory retirement age for judges and was one of the longest-serving judges of the superior courts.

He qualified as a barrister in the 1970s and was appointed to the High Court in 2004, before becoming a Supreme Court judge in 2012.

He had previously served as Chairman of the Bar Council of Ireland and had been involved in the Free Legal Advice centres organisation.

The judge described his career as a "vocation" and said he had the best job in the world.