TRIBUTES have been paid to Judge Tom Oâ€™Donnell, who presided over Limerick District Court for the last time on Thursday, following a distinguished career in the city courtroom for the past 12 years.
Judge Oâ€™Donnell will take the bench as a Circuit Court judge this summer after receiving word of his appointment last month.
State Solicitor for Limerick City, Michael Murray, said the judge has got the reward of promotion which he richly deserves. â€œHe discharged his functions as a district judge to a very high standard, and he is respected by, and rightly respected, throughout the legal profession and the judiciary as person of exceptional ability who was very diligent and hard-working.â€
Chief Superintendent Dave Sheahan said Judge Oâ€™Donnell was â€œvery compassionate with younger gardai when they were starting off giving evidence in courtâ€.
â€œHe nurtured them along in their formative years and a lot of those people have since been promoted and are back prosecuting cases before the court.â€
Solicitor Ted McCarthy who has stood before the judge for the majority of his time on the bench said he was been â€œquite fantasticâ€ for Limerick City.
â€œHis work rate is second to none in what is the busiest district in the country bar none. He was polite to everybody that attended court, whether they were professional, members of the public or indeed, people who were unfortunate enough to be before the court on charges. He listens to all matters before him, and takes it into account. He doesnâ€™t prejudge anything. He listens to the evidence and then makes his judgement. Iâ€™d say that if any judge deserved to be elevated, it was him.â€
Addressing a packed courtroom during his final sitting, Judge Oâ€™Donnell said Limerick District Court was part of his DNA and in response to the various tributes he joked: â€œIâ€™m actually not retiring, Iâ€™m just moving on.â€