Nuala O'Loan3Nuala Patricia O’Loan was born and educated in Hertfordshire, England.  She studied law at King’s College London, graduating in 1973 as a solicitor.  In 1977 she became a law lecturer at the Ulster Polytechnic and the University of Ulster and as a senior lecturer held the Jean Monnet Chair in European Law.

Nuala is married to Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP) councillor and former North Antrim MLA, Declan O’Loan; they have five sons.

In 1999 Nuala became the first Police Ombudsman in Northern Ireland and continued until 2007.  In July 2009 she was appointed to the House of Lords and consequently to the peerage in September 2009 as Baroness O’Loan.  In December 2010 the National University of Ireland, Maynooth, appointed her as Chairman of its Governing Authority.

Baroness O’Loan’s awards are many.  In 2003 the Annual Conference of the National Association for Civilian Oversight of Law Enforcement (a US organization) presented Nuala with an award for her contribution to police accountability.

In 2008 Baroness Nuala received various awards: 

  • Person of the Year at Ireland’s Annual People of the Year Awards; 
  • An honorary Doctor of Law at the University of Ulster in recognition of her work as Police Ombudsman and for her      contribution to the social development of Northern Ireland;
  • Awarded an honorary Doctorate of Law by the Higher Education and Technical Awards Council Ireland
  • And an honorary Doctorate of Law by the National University of Ireland, Maynooth.
  • In that same year she was appointed by the Irish Government as special envoy in East Timor.

In 2010 she was awarded an honorary Doctorate of Law by Queen’s University Belfast.

Nuala is a renowned speaker on the issue of justice, human rights, reconciliation and peace.

She is also known for her courage and integrity; for respecting the individual and in negotiating ways of resolving conflict and has the capacity to inspire hope.  Her volunteer work as marriage counsellor to prepare young people from different religions when preparing for marriage is another way in which she makes a very valuable contribution.

And yet Nuala has had real challenges in her own life which could have BUT did not hold her back from contributing all she has to this island of Ireland by way of justice, peace and reconciliation.  In 1977, while working at the Ulster Polytechnic, Nuala survived an IRA bombing.  She was pregnant at the time and tragically lost her baby.  Then, in 2006, her son Damian was badly beaten up in the Oldpark section of North Belfast and he required hospital treatment.  The motive for the attack has yet to be established.


The above details were given by Sister Anne Carbon when introducing Dame Nuala before her presentation

                                                  >>>>>   JOURNEYING to PEACE  >>>>>                                           

at the Columban Sisters Event in Magheramore, Wicklow, on 27 July 2013.

Categories 2013 Events