MARY O’Halloran has stood down from the bench after 20 years of administering justice in County Limerick.
Appointed in October 1992, the Courts Service confirmed to the Leader that Mrs O’Halloran officially retired at the weekend.
During her time the Tralee woman saw courts close, garda districts merge and the state-of-the-art court in Kilmallock opened.
When vacancies arise the judicial appointment board give nominations to the Government and a new judge will be appointed in the New Year. Chief Superintendent David Sheahan described Mrs O’Halloran as an “absolute lady”.
“She was certainly a very loyal servant of the state in the context of the way she administered justice.
“She always dealt with people with dignity, while at the same time administering effective justice,” said Chief Supt Sheahan, who added that Mrs O’Halloran was very kind to new gardai.
“She was never afraid to bring about change without interfering with the due process of law. I’m sad to see her go and wish her well in her retirement,” said Chief Supt Sheahan.
County Limerick state solicitor, Aidan Judge said Mrs O’Halloran, who is married to Des and has three daughters Claire, Jane, Deirdre, had the common touch.
“She was a superb judge. She reared a family and knew the value of a pound or a euro, her decisions reflected that. She knew what people were going through. From a criminal point of view, where a criminal had to be dealt with severely she didn’t shirk that decision.
“Where a decision required a degree of compassion and understanding, that was readily evident as well,” said Mr Judge, who added that her decisions were rarely successfully appealed.
On behalf of the Limerick Solicitors Bar Association, St.John Dundon, said Mrs O’Halloran always exercised her judgment with justice, humanity and consistency.
“She will be missed by all of those who regularly appeared before her. On behalf of the profession I wish her a very enjoyable, fruitful and long retirement,” said Mr Dundon.