Tributes paid to retiring circuit court judge

Patrick Moran steps down after 25 years hearing civil and criminal cases

Warm tributes were paid today to the longest serving circuit court judge in the country, Judge Patrick Moran, when he retired after nearly 25 years on the bench.

A native of Mulranny, Co Mayo, Judge Moran who practised on the Western Circuit as a barrister, was appointed a circuit court judge in 1988 and in 1990 was assigned to Cork Circuit Court where he has presided over a growning volume of civil and criminal cases.

On his time in the bench in Cork, he heard the longest ever criminal case heard in the Irish circuit court, the Maria Bernadette Jehle case while he also heard major drug importation cases such as the Gemeos and Dances with Waves as well as the Ian Bailey's civil action for libel.

Father of the Cork Bar, Don McCarthy BL led the tributes to Judge Moran, praising him for his hard work, his courtesy and his sympathy for both victims and accused and describing him as “ man of experience, integrity and vast ability.”


President of the Circuit Court, Judge Raymond Groarke said that Judge Moran was a valued friend and a great support to him all of his professional life and he praised him for his belief in "the good of people" and he wished him well in his retirement.

The longest serving solicitor in Cork, Edward O’Driscoll praised Judge Moran for his “calmness” and said he hoped he would enjoy his retirement and a return to his native Mayo where he would be able to “enjoy the setting sun over Achill Island and Clew Bay”.

Tributes were also paid by President of the Southern Law Association, Michael Enright and on behalf of the state solicitors by Barry Galvin while Chief Supt Mick Finn thanked Judge Moran for the courtesy he had always shown members of An Garda Síochána.

County Registrar, Deirdre O'Mahony said that Judge Moran's retirement marked an "end of an era" for circuit court staff at the Washington Courthouse in Cork who would miss him greatly and always remember him for his "unfailing kindness and courtesy".

Judge Moran’s Registrar, Martin O’Donovan who joked he had known the judge longer than his wife and he thanked him for his kindness and his appreciation of staff efforts over the years to ensure a smooth administration of justice in civil, criminal and family law cases.

Judge Moran recalled how fortunate he was to have the late Judge Anthony G Murphy first as friend and later as mentor when he was first assigned to Cork and he also paid tribute to his deceased colleagues, Judge Sean O'Leary and Judge Con Murphy for their help.

He also paid tribute to his current colleagues Judge Sean Ó Donnabhain and Judge David Riordan for their support and he thanked his crier of 24 years, James Flannery, his registrar, Martin O'Donovan and Court Garda Denis Ring for their unfailing support and kindness.

He also paid tribute to members of the Cork Bar and the Southern Law Association for their integrity and honesty and he thanked them all for their assistance in the administration of justice in civil, criminal and family law cases.

“Whether I’m going to watch the sun go down on Achill Island and Clew Bay, I’m not so sure - it doesn’t go down that often there - but I retire with a positive attitude - I’ve been fortunate to enjoy good health hithertofore and I hope that continues,” he said.

Among those who attended the ceremony n the Washington Street Courthouse were Judge Moran's colleagues in Cork, Judge Sean O Donnabhain and Judge David Riordan as well as Mr Justice Patrick McCarthy and Mr Justice Kevin Cross of the High Court.

Barry Roche

Barry Roche

Barry Roche is Southern Correspondent of The Irish Times