Retired Cork judge Patrick Moran dies aged 78

Long-serving Circuit Court judge presided over libel case taken by Ian Bailey

The late Patrick Moran in his chambers in Cork Circuit Court in 2013. Photograph: Michael Mac Sweeney/Provision

Retired Circuit Court judge Patrick Moran has died aged 78. He served nearly 25 years on the bench in Cork, making him the longest-serving Circuit Court judge when he retired in 2013.

He was still in his 40s when appointed to the court in 1988, and was assigned two years later to Cork Circuit Court and presided over a large number of civil and criminal cases.

Some came to national prominence, among them a big civil action for libel taken by Ian Bailey, later convicted in his absence by a Paris court for the murder of French woman Sophie Toscan du Plantier in 1996. Mr Bailey denies any involvement in her death.

Judge Moran also presided over the case of Swiss woman Maria Bernadette Jehle, whose 10-week money-laundering trial in 1998 was then the longest-running criminal case to come before the Circuit Court. It was also the State’s first trial for money-laundering, with 43 witnesses from seven countries.


When Jehle was convicted, Judge Moran said Ireland must not become a haven for criminals from abroad. “The criminal classes of Europe must know that if they deposit the proceeds of crime here they will be treated severely,” he said.

‘Human touch’

Don McCarthy BL, father of the Cork Bar, paid tribute to Judge Moran. “He worked very hard. He was extremely courteous to all, his attitude much appreciated by the Bar,” said Mr McCarthy.

“He had a human touch, showing it in sympathy toward victims and accused while at the same time discharging correctly his obligations as a criminal judge.”

Judge Moran, a bachelor, died in his sleep on Thursday at home in Glanmire after a short illness, said a close family friend.

He came from Mulranny, Co Mayo, the only child of a publican. He attended Clongowes Wood College in Co Kildare and went on to study at University College Dublin and King’s Inns.

Before his appointment to the bench, he had a broad general practice as a barrister on the western circuit and took on a large volume of property-related work. He never took silk.

“He had a massive sense of the importance of justice and the importance of standing up for the underdog,” the family friend said.

Judge Moran had a love of gardening. Throughout time in Cork, he was a big supporter of UCC rugby club. He spent summers in Mulranny as well in Baltimore in west Cork, and in France.

Arthur Beesley

Arthur Beesley

Arthur Beesley is Current Affairs Editor of The Irish Times