Tributes to High Court judge as he hears criminal cases in Cork for last time

Mr Justice Paul Carney will be irreplaceable at the Central Criminal Court, says lawyer

Tributes have been paid to Mr Justice Paul Carney by the members of the legal profession in Cork ahead of his retirement next month after over 20 years as a judge of the High Court. Solicitors and barristers gathered at the Central Criminal Court sitting in Cork yesterday to pay tribute to Mr Justice Carney as he began his last sitting at the Washington Street courthouse.

On behalf of the Southern Law Association, solicitor Frank Buttimer said he was "very, very sad" to see Mr Justice Carney retire after such a distinguished career. "There has been a lot of debate about irreplaceability and we are told that everyone is irreplaceable, but I think that you are the exception that proves the rule. I don't envy whoever has to follow in your shoes," Mr Buttimer added, before praising him for his immense contribution to the administration of justice in Ireland.

He had brought the Central Criminal Court out to the regions to deal with cases from the regions and that had been felt and appreciated in the communities affected by such cases.

On behalf of the Bar Council, Brendan Nix SC said Mr Justice Carney's imminent retirement marked the "end of an era". In "the entire history of the Bar," he added, "there has never been anyone like you" as he praised Mr Justice Carney for his willingness to "listen to counsel, to trust counsel".


He also praised the judge for his willingness to embrace technology and he recalled how he had once used a video link to charge a jury in a case from his hospital bed. A tribute was also paid by father of the Cork Bar Don McCarthy who wished him a happy retirement from his many friends among legal practitioners in Cork.

Thanking people for their generous and kind remarks, Mr Justice Carney observed that there was “nothing voluntary about my going”, before he began hearing cases in the list.

Barry Roche

Barry Roche

Barry Roche is Southern Correspondent of The Irish Times