Sinead McGrath > Carson McDowell > Belfast, Northern Ireland > Lawyer Profile

Carson McDowell
Northern Ireland

Work Department

Banking and finance.


As a partner at Carson McDowell, Sinead heads the banking and finance team. She acts for a wide variety banks, financial institutions and borrowers in relation to general acquisition finance, real estate finance, general corporate lending, project finance and restructuring. Key clients include Barclays Bank, Ulster Bank and Danske Bank.


Trained McKinty & Wright; qualified 1996; L’Estrange & Brett 1999-2009, partner from 2004; partner McGrigors 2009-12 (following merger with L’Estrange & Brett); partner Pinsent Masons 2012-13; partner Carson McDowell November 2013 to date.


Law Society of Northern Ireland.


Queens University, Belfast (1994 LLB Hons); Institute of Professional Legal Studies (1996).

Lawyer Rankings

Northern Ireland > Finance > Banking and finance

(Hall of Fame)

Sinead McGrathCarson McDowell

Carson McDowell’s standout strengths are in real estate finance, SME lending and project finance. It is frequently instructed to act as the Northern Irish counsel on cross-border finance transactions. Clients include major Irish banks, as well as Citigroup and Bank of America/Merril Lynch. Sinead McGrath, who leads the team, recently advised Linen Mill Studios on its loan facilities from Whiterock Finance towards the development of the Game of Thrones Studio Tour in Northern Ireland. McGrath works with senior associates Emma Copeland (who specialises in real estate finance) and Orla Hanna, who was hired from Baker McKenzie in 2020, and focuses on real estate and energy finance. Associate Fearghal McVey is another key individual.

Northern Ireland > Projects, energy and natural resources > Energy, project finance and PFI

Carson McDowell has a diverse offering and particularly stands out for its expertise in advising private equity houses on energy investments; it assisted Brookfield Renewables with its investments in Northern Ireland. Other core areas of focus for the group span wind energy work, natural gas mandates and electricity regulations. The team is led by Neasa Quigley, who is an expert in corporate energy deals. Corporate partner Gerard Armstrong is also active in this area, along with planning specialist Gary McGhee, financing expert Sinead McGrath, as well as property experts Emma Cooper and Dawson McConkey.

Northern Ireland > Finance > Insolvency and corporate recovery

Carson McDowell is able to leverage its strengths across a number of disciplines to provide full-service support on the entire ambit of contentious and non-contentious mandates. Its client roster includes insolvency practitioners, banks, corporates and directors. The core restructuring and insolvency team is ably supported by practitioners in areas such as banking and finance, corporate, employment, property and litigation. It is a strong choice for advice on a myriad of complex mandates, including administrations, bankruptcies, receiverships and liquidations. In addition, the group also handles restructurings, as well as debt and asset recovery work. Darren Toombs is highly skilled in insolvency litigation and other recovery-related matters, and he is experienced in advising liquidators, trustees in bankruptcy and administrators. Toombs co-heads the practice with Sinead McGrath, who is knowledgeable about all aspects of solvent and insolvent restructurings.