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Martin Cooney

Martin Cooney

Partner mcooney@byrnewallace.com +353 1 691 5260
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Martin is a partner and Head of the ByrneWallace LLP Infrastructure, Construction and Energy Group.

Martin advises on all aspects of construction law including both contentious and non-contentious matters. He has wide ranging experience advising on standard form contracts (including RIAI, Public Works, NEC and FIDIC) as well as negotiating and drafting bespoke contracts, professional appointments and ancillary contracts. A skilled litigator, Martin has expertise in various forms of dispute resolution having represented employers, consultants and contractors in mediations, conciliations, adjudications, expert determinations and arbitration. He is also experienced in traditional litigation having represented clients at all court levels, particularly in the Commercial Court.

Martin provides Health & Safety advice pertaining to construction and engineering projects, and has represented clients in the defence of HSA prosecutions. He is a member of the Health and Safety Lawyers Association of Ireland.

Prior to joining ByrneWallace LLP in 2017, Martin was partner with a boutique law firm specialising in property and construction law, and previously trained and worked as an Associate in the Construction and Engineering department of a large commercial law firm in Dublin. Martin also worked as an in-house solicitor with the National Asset Management Agency (“NAMA”) where he worked on the residential development and loan sales teams.

Martin lectures and tutors on the Law Society’s Diploma in Construction Law, on the European Law and Negotiation Skills modules on the Law Society’s Professional Practice Course, and is a member (former Chair) of the Law Society’s EU & International Affairs Committee. He is also a member of the Society of Construction Law’s Astra Committee in Ireland. He regularly lectures on various courses for the Defence Forces in the Military College, mainly through the United Nations Training School Ireland. 

Key experience

    • Advised a local authority on the public procurement process and development documentation for a residential development of approximately 800 residential units.
    • Advised an airport operator on the construction documentation, based on NEC forms, for runway renovation works.
    • Advised a pharmaceutical company on an EPCM contract and Construction contract for the renovation and extension of a pharmaceutical manufacturing facility.
    • Advised a major international retailer on the development and construction documentation for a new regional distribution centre, including all related civil engineering and infrastructure works.
    • Advised a hospital on the EPC and R&D contracts for a Neuro Interventional Radiology Service incorporating the supply and support of biplane angiographic imaging system equipment.
    • Advised a local authority on issues arising from a public procurement process for the construction of sporting facilities.
    • Acted for a public body in defence of two concurrent statutory adjudications under the Construction Contracts Act 2013.
    • Acting for a civil engineering sub-contractor in respect of the prosecution of claims in a statutory adjudication under the Construction Contracts Act, 2013.
    • Acted for a scaffolding sub-contractor in a number of adjudications in the UK under an NEC form of contract.
    • Acted for a major international retailer in an arbitration relating to defective premises.
    • Acted for a public body in a conciliation arising under a public works contract and related proceedings in the Commercial Court.


    • DEUE, European Law, Université Toulouse 1 Capitole, 2002
    • B.Corp Law (Corporate Law), NUI Galway, 2003
    • LL.B (Law), NUI Galway, 2004
    • M.Sc, Criminology and Criminal Justice, Oxford University, 2006
    • Higher Diploma in Employment Law, University College Dublin, 2008
    • Dip. Comm. Lit. (Commercial Litigation), 2009
    • Qualified as a Solicitor, Law Society of Ireland, 2009
    • Qualified as a Solicitor, Law Society of England and Wales, 2010
    • M.Sc., Construction Law and Dispute Resolution, Kings College London, 2015


      • Law Society of Ireland
      • Law Society of England and Wales
      • Chair of EU & International Affairs Committee, Law Society of Ireland
      • Dublin Solicitors Bar Association
      • Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (MCIArb)
      • Health and Safety Lawyers Association of Ireland
      • Society of Construction Law


        Leading Individual, Construction - Legal 500, 2024

        'Martin Cooney delivers well-considered advice and an ability to think strategically in guiding clients through complex projects.' - Legal 500, 2024

        'Martin Cooney always deals with issues in a pragmatic and down-to-earth way which is easily understood.' - Legal 500, 2024

        'Martin Cooney is second to none.' - Legal 500, 2024

        'Martin Cooney is excellent to deal with.' - Legal 500, 2024

        'He's an excellent lawyer with very good knowledge and commercial awareness.' - Chambers Europe, 2024

        'Martin Cooney is very knowledgeable and responsive.' - Chambers Europe, 2024

        Leading Individual, Construction - Legal 500, 2023

        'Martin Cooney has tremendous experience in a wide range of legal areas in the commercial sphere so you are getting a well-rounded and holistic viewpoint at all times.' - Chambers Europe, 2023

        'I think he is very incisive and seems to have an answer for everything.' - Chambers Europe, 2023

        'He is both knowledgeable and responsive.' - Chambers Europe, 2023

        ‘Martin Cooney is knowledgeable and personable and I would have confidence in his advice. Fergal Ruane has extensive experience of dealing with the public sector and understands very well the issues impacting public sector clients.’ - Legal 500, 2022

        ‘Martin Cooney provides excellent advice on contractual matters, providing insight and experience into negotiations and strategy. Martin is very responsive to the client’s needs. Fergal Ruane has wide and varied experience in the procurement of major contracts and provides excellent advice on procurement issues arising in complex projects. Fergal is able to break down complex issues and explain them clearly and concisely, and he provides good insight into strategy.’ - Legal 500, 2022

        ‘Martin Cooney and his team provide concise detailed advice on any manner of complex issues in a remarkably quick manner. Whether it be a contentious issue on a difficult project or the best procurement and contractual path to undertake for a building or engineering project, they have the right answer.’ - Legal 500, 2022

        ‘Martin Cooney is a classic all-rounder, a master of the construction process from the inception of the project to the tender stage, construction stage and, if required, the dispute stage. His deep knowledge of the industry and the many pitfalls and risks that parties must navigate is always impressive. His clarity of advice merits special mention. No less capable is Deirdre Hennessy, whose ability to get to grips with any commercial or contractual problem speedily is remarkable.’ - Legal 500, 2022

        ‘Martin Cooney is a highly knowledgeable lawyer with an excellent understanding of the development and construction sector. He demonstrates significant expertise in transactional matters, drafting and negotiating a wide range of contracts.' - Legal 500, 2022

        ‘Martin Cooney is tenacious, sensible and very client focused.’ - Legal 500, 2022

        ‘Martin Cooney and Lisa Maloney are the standout people for us. Their combined legal skills and deep knowledge of construction contracts and practice make them a formidable team, the best we have engaged with in fact. We wouldn’t go anywhere else.’ - Legal 500, 2022

        ‘The most impressive characteristic of the Byrne Wallace team, and in particular Martin Cooney and Deirdre Hennessy, is the breadth of experience they bring to the table. They clearly have the most up-to-date information and case law available, and the ability of Martin and his team to grasp the relevant facts of a dispute is excellent. The subsequent advice provided is clear and concise.’ - Legal 500, 2022

        ‘I would highly recommend Martin Cooney. He immediately understands and appreciates the tight line public bodies have to tread in their legal affairs. Martin will present a number of potential courses of action to remedy a legal problem, which allows clients to explore more than one possible scenario. However, in doing so, Martin will never equivocate when advising his client on the optimal legal solution as he sees it, which greatly eases the burden on the client. On more than one occasion, Martin has provided novel solutions to legal problems where others had failed. He is also extremely cordial and personable and excellent at building and maintaining relationships over an extended period.’ - Legal 500, 2022

        Sources praise his "good commercial awareness around development agreements and general construction matters and ability to be very responsive to client needs." - Chambers Europe, 2022

        ‘Martin Cooney is a stand out partner. He is very personable, commercial, direct, practical and his fee quotes match his final invoice.’ - Legal 500, 2021

        ‘Martin Cooney’s team gets to grips with the critical issues at an early stage and develops the most appropriate strategies in response to those issues. Their understanding of the realities and constraints of construction/engineering project disputes is especially commendable. What sets them apart is the ability to develop the appropriate strategy in order to achieve the most favourable outcome for their party. ’ - Legal 500, 2021

        ‘The qualities I value are their work ethic, approachability and friendliness. This includes out of hours discussions, which I’ve had on a few occasion at times close to and after midnight, with Martin Cooney, the partner in charge of their construction team. Martin was always available to help, guide and advise.’ - Legal 500, 2021

        'The expertise of Martin Cooney and the support provided by his colleagues was highly valued.’ - Legal 500, 2021

        'I work with two individuals who are exceptional at their work, Martin Cooney and Fergal Ruane. They work late into the night to get documents ready to meet our deadlines also.'  - Legal 500, 2021

        Martin Cooney is "good at problem-solving, responsive and gets the job done," according to clients. He handles building contracts, design team appointments and collateral warranties negotiations, with additional experience in construction disputes. "He is practical and commercial," a commentator says. - Chambers Europe, 2021

        Martin Cooney is a very good, commercial and pragmatic lawyer. - Chambers Europe, 2020

        Martin Cooney and his team keep their focus entirely on the potential commercial outcome and tailor their services to suit. Martin’s knowledge of construction disputes and the appropriate tactics to pursue whether in adjudication, arbitration or litigation is second to none in the Irish market. - Legal 500, 2020

        Martin Cooney and senior associate Deirdre Hennessy are excellent and provide thorough explanations. They made themselves available as and when required and were a constant source of support when responses were required on pending issues. - Legal 500, 2020

        Martin Cooney is ranked as a Up and Coming by Chambers Europe, 2020

        Described by Chambers & Partners  Europe as "Up and Coming" - Chambers Europe, 2019

        One client says: "He [Martin Cooney] is great: proactive, attentive and very personable," while another describes him as "an expert in construction disputes." - Chambers Europe, 2019

        Led by ‘excellent communicator’ Martin Cooney, the team at ByrneWallace demonstrates ‘expertise and knowledge of construction of a very high standard’ with ‘capabilities in all areas of construction-related activities from purchases through to contract litigation’. - Legal 500, 2019