Justice Paul Carney ‘immersed in the law’, mourners told

Funeral congregation includes over 50 serving and retired members of judiciary

The life of Mr Justice Paul Carney, an "excellent" lawyer , "very fair" judge and "very private" man, was "immersed in the law", the late judge's funeral Mass in Dublin has heard.

John Rochford, solicitor and friend of the late Mr Justice Carney, said he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer last November but, so dedicated was he to the law, he had not wanted to retire last April.

Among the issues the late judge successfully advocated was abolition of the verdict of guilty but insane for murder offences, Mr Rochford noted.

Mr Justice Carney also believed the crime of murder, which still attracts a mandatory life sentence, should be changed in a manner that would encourage more guilty pleas.

He would be much missed by the legal profession, but especially missed by his family, Mr Rochford said.

He was delivering the eulogy at the funeral on Tuesday of the late judge at the Church of the Sacred Heart, Donnybrook, Dublin.

Mr Justice Carney died last week, aged 72, after a legal career spanning some five decades. Appointed a High Court judge in 1991, he had presided over some of the State's most high profile murder and rape cases.

The chief mourners in the large congregation were his wife, Dr Marjorie Young, and four children, Jonathan, Julian, Philip, Rosalind and extended family members including Ann Solan, his cousin who also served as his court usher.

The chief celebrant was Monsignor Lorcan O'Brien while the other celebrants included Fr Noel Barber SJ, of Gongaza College and Reverend Robert McCarthy, former Dean of St Patrick's Cathedral.

Among the symbols of the late judge’s life presented by family members were his gavel, conferring parchment and wig.

Monsignor O’Brien drew some laughter when he said the latter was an item from which the late judge, who insisted on the full traditional court dress, “would not be parted”.

In his homily, Monsignor O’Brien said Mr Justice Carney “knew more than most of human sin, evil and depravity” but, despite all that, “remained a wise and just man”. His experiences as a judge must have come “at some cost to himself”, the Monsignor added.

President Michael D. Higgins was represented at the funeral by his Aide de camp Colonel Michael Kiernan while Commandant David Foley, Aide de camp to Taoiseach Enda Kenny, conveyed Mr Kenny's sympathies to the family.

Representatives from the world of politics included Minister for Communications, Alex White; Labour TD Pat Rabbitte; Fianna Fail TD Timmy Dooley. Former Minister for Justice Nora Owen, former Progressive Democrats leaders and ex-government ministers Des O'Malley and Mary Harney and former Labour TD Liz McManus were also present.

The congregation also included the British Ambassador to Ireland Dominick Chilcott and the Egyptian Amassador to Ireland Soha Gendi. Former Garda Commissioner Noel Conroy was present as was former Assistant Commissioner Martin Donnellan.

The Chief Justice Ms Justice Susan Denham, two of her predecessors, Mr Justice John Murray and Mr Justice Ronan Keane and the President of the High Court Mr Justice Nicholas Kearns were among a very large legal contingent comprising more than fifty serving and retired members of the judiciary. These included Mr Justice Adrian Hardiman, Mr Justice Donal O'Donnell, Mr Justice John MacMenamin, Ms Justice Mary Laffoy and Ms Justice Iseult O'Malley of the Supreme Court.

Among the retired Supreme Court judges in attendance were Ms Justice Catherine McGuinness, who devilled with Mr Justice Carney when he was at the Bar, Mr Justice Donal Barrington, Justice Nial Fennelly and Mr Justice Hugh Geoghegan.

Judges from the Court of Appeal present included Ms Justice Mary Irvine, Mr Justice George Birmingham and Ms Justice Mary Finlay Geoghegan. A large cohort of serving High Court judges in attendance included Ms Justice Caroline Costello, Mr Justice Brian Cregan, Mr Justice Tony Hunt, Mr Justice Michael Moriarty, Mr Justice Seamus Noonan, Mr Justice Robert Eagar and Ms Justice Isobel Kennedy.

Retired High Court judges in attendance included Mr Justice Iarfhlaith O'Neill, Mr Justice Eamon de Valera and Mr Justice John Quirke. The President of the Circuit Court, Judge Raymond Groarke, was also present.

The congregation also included former Attorneys General, Harry Whelehan and Eoghan Fitzsimons SC. David Barniville, Chairman of the Bar Council, and Ken Murphy, Director General of the Law Society, respectively represented the country's barristers and solicitors.

Patrick MacEntee SC, who appeared before Mr Justice Carney in many criminal trials, was among a large number of senior and junior members of the Bar, and solicitors who attended.

Brendan Ryan, chief executive of the Courts Service, represented the service while Mary Feerick, the late judge's long-serving registrar, his former registrar Liam Convey, several other registrars, tip staff and other employees of the Courts Service also attended.

After the hour long funeral Mass, the remains of Mr Justice Carney, an only child, were taken for burial alongside his parents at Deansgrange cemetery.