Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Deasy, Rickard

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DEASY, RICKARD (1812–1883), Irish judge, was the second son of Rickard Deasy of Clonakilty, county Cork, by his wife Mary Anne Caller. He was educated at Trinity College, Dublin, where he graduated as B.A. in 1833, M.A. in 1847, and LL.B. and LL.D. in 1860. Deasy was called to the Irish bar in Michaelmas term 1835, and quickly acquired a very large practice. In 1849 he was made a queen's counsel, and at once became the leader in the equity courts and on the Munster circuit. At a bye election in April 1855 he was returned for county Cork, and he continued to sit for this constituency until his elevation to the bench in January 1861. In 1858 he was elected a bencher of King's Inns, Dublin, and became third serjeant-at-law. Being a sound lawyer, as well as a liberal and a Roman catholic, he was appointed solicitor-general for Ireland in Lord Palmerston's administration in July 1859. In 1860 he succeeded the present Lord Fitzgerald as attorney-general for Ireland, and was sworn a member of the Irish privy council. Upon the resignation of Baron Greene in 1861 Deasy was made a baron of the court of exchequer in Ireland, and in 1878 was promoted by the conservative government to the post of lord justice of appeal. In 1861 Deasy married Monica, younger daughter of Hugh O'Connor of Sackville Street, Dublin, by whom he had several children. He died at No. 41 Merrion Square East, Dublin, on 6 May 1883, in the seventy-first year of his age, and was buried in the family vault in Dean's Grange cemetery, Blackrock, near Dublin, where his wife had been interred but five weeks previously. Deasy was an accomplished lawyer, and a patient and impartial judge. He was described by Chief-justice Morris as the Bayard of the Irish bench. Owing to his exertions the Landlord and Tenant Law Amendment Act, Ireland, 1860 (23 & 24 Vict. c. cliv.), was passed, in which a successful attempt was made to codify the great mass of law relating to the duties of landlord and tenant; while his fairness to his political adversaries in debate, his conciseness of speech, and businesslike habits made him a general favourite in the House of Commons.

[Wills's Irish Nation (1875), iv. 168–9; O'Flanagan's Munster Circuit (1880), pp. 254, 376–80; Men of the Time (1879), p. 307; Ward's Men of the Reign (1885), p. 250; Annual Register (1883), pp. 146–7; Irish Law Times, 12 May 1883, pp. 257–8; Law Times, same date, p. 35; Times, 7, 8, 10 May 1883; Freeman's Journal, 7, 8, 9, 10 May 1883; Official Return of Lists of Members of Parliament, pt. ii. pp. 428, 442, 459; Catalogue of Graduates of Dublin University (1869), p. 150.]

G. F. R. B.