Damien Tansey grew up in Ballymote, the middle child of three.
“I’m from a working class background, my father was a carpenter, but I was fortunate to live in Ireland where one can move from a working class background to the professional classes in one generation.”
He said he was also fortunate to have a “wonderful mother” who saw a bit of potential and pushed her children along. “I was the only one of my class at national school in Ballymote to go to university”.
As a solicitor who has gone on to build a national reputation as a specialist in medical negligence cases, it’s interesting to learn that he could have gone into medicine as a career.
“Like a lot of people of my vintage there was no career guidance. If you were thinking of the professions it was very limited, it was law, medicine or accountancy. It was a toss-up between law and medicine for me.”
But he said that in the end it came down to “pragmatic reasons”, as he was paying for himself and the course for medicine was longer than law.
After a secondary school education at St Nathy’s College, Ballaghadereen, he went to University College Galway, where he did an Arts degree, taking English, History and Latin, and afterwards taught for a year at St Nathy’s.
He then worked in the Department of Justice for a couple of years, during which he time he studied law, and he left to take up a position as Law lecturer in the third-level sector in Galway, Letterkenny and Sligo.
For the full interview with solicitor Damien Tansey see this week’s Sligo Weekender- in shops every Thursday.