Irish Legal 100


SEAN Downes is an attorney based in Manhattan. Since 1985, he has specialized in representing people who have sustained serious injuries as a result of accidents caused by others.

During the past 37 years, many of his clients have come from the Irish American community, including construction workers, bartenders, laborers and other workers, including undocumentedindividuals,whohavesustainedinjuries in everyday life, or in the course of their employment due to the negligence of others.

To date he has helped his clients recover millions of dollars in settlements, including a recent award of $7.6 million for an Irish construction worker who was injured on the job. He credits his success to his personal commitment to his clients and their cases from beginning to end.

Downes’ grandparents were from counties Cork and Mayo. From his earliest days in college to the present he has been actively involved in Irish American affairs, propelled by his strong his Irish republican beliefs and his commitment to a free and united Ireland.

He has represented and has been involved in the defense of numerous Irish republicans who sought refuge in America. Together with attorneys Gerry Keogh and Richard Harvey, he was instrumental in securing political asylum for Sean Mackin and his family.

He is on the Board of Directors of the New York Irish Center, and is a longtime member and past president of the Brehon Law Society. He has often traveled to Ireland, including spending his junior year of college in Dublin.

Downes, along with his brother, Larry, were the founding officers of Friends of Sinn Fein, an organization created after Gerry Adams received his first visa to visit the U.S. in 1994. The purpose of the organization is to assist Sinn Fein in securing its goal of a free and united Ireland through the Good Friday Agreement.

Downes earned a JD from Hofstra Law. He and his wife of 35 years, Marianne, reside in Bayside, Queens. They have two grown daughters, Mollie and Katie.





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