COURTS SERVICE NEWS New Courthouses Review of 2018 Festive features - NUACHT NA SEIRBHÍSE CÚIRTEANNA -

COURTS SERVICE NEWS New Courthouses Review of 2018 Festive features - NUACHT NA SEIRBHÍSE CÚIRTEANNA -

                                        • New Courthouses
                                        • Review of 2018
                                        • Festive features
COURTS SERVICE NEWS New Courthouses Review of 2018 Festive features - NUACHT NA SEIRBHÍSE CÚIRTEANNA -



  13                                                    05

  08                                                                                                                                                        10

REGULARS                                                                       Law Society success at Gael Linn 2018.....................11
Welcome Note............................................................03     UCD wins National Moot............................................11
Appointments.............................................................16    New head of Directorate............................................12
Retirements...............................................................18   Tribute to late judge Grainne O’Neill.........................13
Through the lens........................................................24
FEATURES                                                                       Film Reviews..............................................................20
Christmas Messages.................................................04          Christmas Recipe.......................................................23
Look Back at 2018......................................................05      Book Reviews.............................................................22
Social Media in Court.................................................08
Mullingar Courthouse................................................09
Coming to a School near you.....................................10
WW1 Exhibition..........................................................10
COURTS SERVICE NEWS New Courthouses Review of 2018 Festive features - NUACHT NA SEIRBHÍSE CÚIRTEANNA -

                                                                                                             Courts Service News is
                                                                                                             the magazine of the Courts
                                                                                                             Service. Contributions are
                                                                                                             drawn from a wide area and
                                                                                                             do not necessarily reflect the
                                                                                                             views or policies of the Courts
                                                                                                             Service. The editors reserve the
                                                                                                             right to edit all contributions.

                                                                                                             Courts Service News,
                                                                                                             Information Office,
                                                                                                             15-24 Phoenix Street North,
                                                                                                             Dublin 7.

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WELCOME TO THE DECEMBER ISSUE OF                                                                             Editorial Team

COURTS SERVICE NEWS                                                                                          Helen Priestley,
                                                                                                             John Whelan,
                                                                                                             Gerry Curran,
As we approach the end of another fruitful year for the Courts Service we head towards a new                 Brian Stephens.
year with even brighter prospects.

Our review of the year (pages 5-7) looks back at the completion of a major Public Private                    Design and Print
Partnership project which saw investment in court buildings like never before (page 5). We                   Hacketts,
continued to strive for improvements on the ICT side of things as we look to provide more services           17 Lower Baggot Street,
for the benefit of all who use the courts (page 6).                                                          Dublin 2,
Deirdre Doyle updates us on a busy year for Learning and Development (page 6) while Denise         
Cole updates us on the latest developments in HR (page 7).
Our outreach programme maintained its success with over 3,000 students visiting the Criminal
Courts of Justice in 2018 (page 7).                                                                          If you would like to contribute
                                                                                                             an article, a book or film
We take a closer look at the rules announced by Chief Justice Frank Clarke restricting the use of            review, please contact
social media in the courtroom (page 8).                                                                      the editorial team at
An exhibition was held in the Four Courts to mark the 100th anniversary of Armistice Day and the
25 barristers who died in WWI (page 10).

We meet the new head of Circuit and District Court Operations Peter Mullan (page 12) and
remember the late Judge Gráinne O’Neill with the unveiling of a picture in the Criminal Courts
of Justice (page 13).

The legal community in Limerick took to the stage to raise money for charity by dancing. See if
you spot a familiar face (page 14).

Our traditional Christmas features include an article encouraging you to reach out to someone
this Christmas (page 15). We have book reviews (page 22), movie reviews (page 20-21), a delicious
recipe (page 23) and a chance to win a One4All voucher in our annual quiz (page 23).

We have our usual features of Appointments (page 16-17), Retirements (page 18-19) and Practice
and Procedures (page 14).

We wish all our readers a happy and healthy Christmas and a peaceful New Year. We look forward
to hearing from you in 2019 as we edge towards the 20th birthday of the Courts Service.

The Courts Service News Team
COURTS SERVICE NEWS New Courthouses Review of 2018 Festive features - NUACHT NA SEIRBHÍSE CÚIRTEANNA -

       FROM THE                                                       FROM THE
       CHIEF JUSTICE                                                  CHIEF EXECUTIVE

       The dark, cold and wet days which mark the end of              Christmas gives us time to step back, slow down
       the year give us cause both to reflect on the year             and relax. Time to appreciate what is important to
       gone by, to look forward to the new year ahead but             us and to be grateful for those we share our lives
       also the opportunity to enjoy a well-earned break              with. Time also to fondly remember those family
       for the festivities of Christmas and New Year.                 members and work colleagues who have passed
                                                                      on but remain very much in our memories.
       The past year has, as always, been an eventful
       one for those of us in the Courts Service but it               We share much of our time during the year with
       has, perhaps, been most characterised by the                   our work colleagues. Christmas is a time to spend
       beginning of a process which will hopefully lead to            some added time with our families. As the year
       a significant improvement in the way in which we               ends we can look back on another year of great
       all work and deliver our services to the community.            endeavour for the Courts Service. The official
       After many years of stagnant or even reduced                   opening of several major and truly impressive
       finances we have experienced the beginning of                  courthouses around the country endorsed our
       the allocation of additional, and vital, resources             contribution to the built heritage of our country.
       to enable us to advance many projects which have               We made great progress in the HR area with staff
       been under consideration for a long time.                      learning and development continuing to be high
                                                                      on our agenda. We used additional ICT funding
       In the past year much effort has been concentrated             to press ahead with more online services and
       on identifying and planning for those changes                  improved technology in the courtroom.
       which we have all known for some time are sorely
       needed. Hopefully, the New Year will begin to see              My genuine thanks and appreciation as ever to my
       concrete plans being adopted and the beginning of              colleagues in the Courts Service for another year
       the implementation of much needed reforms.                     of outstanding effort and support - for the courts,
                                                                      for each other, and for court users in every court
       But this holiday season is also a time to thank all of         and county. Thanks also to the judiciary and to the
       those who have done so much to make the system                 wider justice community for their support and co-
       work over many years of austerity and to suggest               operation.
       that we can, at least in this holiday season, enjoy a
       well-earned break from work with the prospect of               To all readers of Courts Service News I extend my
       more favourable conditions to come.                            best wishes for the festive season. May we all
                                                                      enjoy a well deserved break and look forward to all
       On my own behalf I would wish to extend to the                 that 2019 promises.
       entire justice community of judges, Courts Service
       staff, practitioners, Gardaí, prison and probation             Brendan Ryan
       personnel and all of the support services we
       experience in our court work throughout the year,
       every good wish for the Holiday Season and the
       Most Prosperous and Healthy New Year.

       Frank Clarke
COURTS SERVICE NEWS New Courthouses Review of 2018 Festive features - NUACHT NA SEIRBHÍSE CÚIRTEANNA -

It was a year of completions, improvements and developments.           Staff learning and development continued to be high on our
Courthouse building projects were completed in Letterkenny,            agenda with lots of news from our Learning & Development
Wexford, Limerick, Waterford and Cork. And as the year came            Unit. And we witnessed a new approach to human resource
to an end the magnificently refurbished courthouse in Mullingar        management and recruitment as staff with lots of HR experience
was officially opened.                                                 outside the Courts Service joined existing HR staff.

In the ICT area, there were improvements in online services with       We continued to reach out to the community by opening our
the e-Licensing project and the online Bankruptcy Register, and        courthouses for various public initiatives and by engaging with
we started a project to redevelop our website.                         school and other groups to encourage all to visit and learn how
                                                                       the courts system works.

The Chief Justice and Minister for Justice &
Equality travelled the country to officially open
impressive new court buildings during the year.

Letterkenny, Wexford and Limerick opened
for business early in 2018. The new facilities
in Letterkenny and Wexford have four court
rooms and will hear a mix of civil, family
and criminal cases. The new courthouse in
Limerick has six courtrooms and will mainly          Drogheda                                         Letterkenny
be a centre for criminal justice.

  Waterford                                          Mullingar

                                                    Waterford Courthouse benefited from
                                                    a €26 million refurbishment and was
                                                    officially opened in April.

                                                    Attention turned to Cork at the end of
                                                    May as the magnificent courthouse
                                                    incorporating the former Model School
                                                    in Anglesea Street opened following a            Anglesea Street Court House
                                                    €35 million refurbishment.

                                                    The final project in the current bundle
                                                    was in Mullingar which was officially
  Limerick                                          opened on 23rd November.

COURTS SERVICE NEWS New Courthouses Review of 2018 Festive features - NUACHT NA SEIRBHÍSE CÚIRTEANNA -

                                    The Courts Service strategy to        and of the Council of 20 May 2015. Information on every bankrupt
                                    provide additional online services    in Ireland, back to 1922, is now freely available online – The
                                    for the benefit of all who use our    register can be accessed at
                                    courts continued during the year.
                                                                          Redesign of
                                    E-Licensing                           A project to redevelop the website began in October.
                                    This project provides the facility    The new site will be designed to deliver a more customer-
                                    to apply for licence applications     centred approach to content, instead of the traditional business/
                                    on-line, electronic notification of   operations approach. It will designed for use on multiple
                                    notice parties and an electronic      platforms, including mobile devices.
                                    Licence Register.

                                The roll out to District and Circuit
                                Court offices continued with
                                29 out of 34 court offices now
                                using the Courts Service On-line
                                Portal: for licensing
                               applications. A pilot of the online
application commenced in September with four solicitors’ offices
in Louth, Sligo and Donegal. The pilot marked a milestone in
electronic filing and payment of court applications entered by

eBankruptcy Register
The Bankruptcy Register Online was developed during the year
as part of the changes required to National Insolvency Registers
included in Regulation (EU) 2015/848 of the European Parliament

                                                                          development academy. We are also developing a programme for
                                                                          clerical officers and a bespoke customer service programme”.
                                                                           We delivered a pilot expanded induction programme, and
                                                                          developed a health and wellbeing programme which supports
                                                                          the new Health and Wellbeing policy which was launched in
                                                                          October. Both of these initiatives represent a renewed focus by
                                                                          the organisation on supporting and enabling our staff.

                                                                          Deirdre says that her unit were delighted that so many staff
                                                                          accessed the refund of fees scheme this year. The scheme
                                                                          supports staff to gain qualifications in areas relevant to the
 Pictured at the launch of the Wellbeing policy were (l to r) :Courts     business of the Courts Service. “We had 34 staff gaining
 Service CEO,Brendan Ryan, Head of Learning and Development,              qualifications in areas including public management, law,
 Deirdre Doyle, L & D, Denise Clarkin, Director of Headstrong,            project management, leadership and strategy, human resources
 Dr. Tony Bates, Head of H.R. Denise Cole, FÓRSA Assistant                and governance”.
 General Secretary George Maybury and Communications Trainer,
 Micheline Egan                                                           For the second year the Courts Service sponsored delegates
                                                                          to attend the ‘Young Ireland’ programme. A joint venture with
It was onwards and upwards for the Courts Service Learning                the ‘Young Scotland’ Programme, this initiative aims to improve
and Development Unit with over 2,000 training days delivered              communication skills, networking, broaden horizons and
during the year. “We built on the current learning provision with         develop confidence in staff who are in the early stages of
the development and delivery of a number of new programmes”,              their careers.
Head of L&D Deirdre Doyle told us recently. “We delivered a pilot
two day induction programme for registrars, and a pilot three day         The award winning online learning management system, L&D
development programme for executive officers, and we introduced           Connect, celebrated a year in operation in October. “Over 800
an executive leadership programme and a management                        staff accessed the system in that year”, says Deirdre.
COURTS SERVICE NEWS New Courthouses Review of 2018 Festive features - NUACHT NA SEIRBHÍSE CÚIRTEANNA -

                                               Putting that intent into action has been         Management, and Employment Law. A
                                               very challenging, particularly in the years      focus has been placed on using social
                                               when resources were restricted and staff         media over print media for the advertising
                                               numbers reduced. The provision of extra          of open competitions, using platforms
                                               resources and the engagement of staff with       such as Linkedin and Facebook for more
                                               HR qualifications has enabled the Courts         strategic and targeted recruitment
                                               Service focus once again on this most vital      campaigns. This has allowed for access to
                                               of activities. We are committed to providing     a broader talent pool, whilst increasing the
                                               the Service with a well-resourced, expert        organisation’s online presence.
                                               and optimally performing service, and
                                               with that have recently welcomed two new         To ensure we have a pipeline of talent
                                               Senior HR Business Partners, Lindsey             we have developed clerical and executive
                                               Maidment and Edmund O’Reilly.                    officer academies that will be introduced
Denise Cole, Head of Human Resources                                                            in 2019. New staff will be recruited in
fills us in on what’s been happening in HR     All staff members in Human Resources             cohorts, and on commencement will attend
during 2018.                                   continue to pursue their professional            three weeks of intensive training. The staff
                                               development, studying and attaining              from these academies will provide backfill
The development of staff is a major element    qualifications Human Resources                   support for training, unforeseen absences
of all Courts Service Strategic Plans.         Practice (CIPD), Data Analytics, Project         and family friendly initiatives.

                                                                                                               Open House
                                                                                                               Open House, held in
                                                                                                               October, gave the public
                                                                                                               further opportunity to visit
School Visits                                                                                                  courthouses. Large crowds
The Courts Service continued to invite                                                                         turned out to explore both the
schools, third level students and many                                                                         Four Courts and the Criminal
other groups to come visit the courts in                                                                       Courts of Justice.
2018. Over 3,000 students visited the
Criminal Courts of Justice where they                                                                         Other events
took part in mock trials and learned how                                                                      Clifden Courthouse was
the courts operate. We also welcomed                                                                          the venue for a talk by
international groups from across Europe                                                                       internationally acclaimed
and the United States.                                                                                        Irish artist Brian Maguire as
                                               The new courthouse in Letterkenny,               part of the Clifden Arts Festival 2018.
                                               Co. Donegal joined the Culture Night
                                               programme. Visitors were invited on an           The Carlow Witch trial, part of ‘Scarefest’
                                               after-hours guided tour of the building.         which took place in Carlow Courthouse in
                                               The Tours were conducted by Geoffrey             late October, turned out to be a fantastic
                                               McGonagle, Letterkenny Courts Service            night. Courts Service Carlow manager
                                               Office Manager and Liam Devenney,                Andy Cleary stated “It was a great
                                               Service Officer. There was a great turnout       opportunity for the general public to see
                                               and the tours will likely become an annual       the inside of the courthouse. We would
                                               event.                                           be delighted to be involved in any similar
Culture Night                                                                                   project in the future”.
The tradition of opening court venues to       Ennistymon Courthouse, Co. Clare, now
the public for non-court business is a well-   known as the Courthouse Gallery, hosted
established one and courthouses in Cork        various different cultural events including
and Donegal opened for Culture Night in        a film screening of ‘The Silver Branch’
September.                                     while Oughterard Courthouse, Co. Galway
                                               hosted a communal painting session and
Washington Street Courthouse, Cork was         a fusion of classical and traditional music
the venue for the UCC Players’ production      concert. Former Courthouses in Roscrea,
of Agatha Christie’s play Witness for the      Tinahealy and Clones were also busy on
Prosecution. Judge Michael Pattwell            Culture Night.
(retired District Court judge) played Sir
Wilfrid Roberts, counsel for the defence.
COURTS SERVICE NEWS New Courthouses Review of 2018 Festive features - NUACHT NA SEIRBHÍSE CÚIRTEANNA -

The Chief Justice recently told journalists of the difficulties
some use of social media is having on court cases. Emphasising
the right to a fair trial, he announced a new practice direction
limiting the use of live text and message based communications
from court to bone fide members of the media and lawyers.
Other personnel such as prisoner officers and Gárdai may use
texts to help manage the business of the court only. Others in
court will be unable to text or message from the courtroom – in
any form.

“If the experience of the operation of this practice direction
provides evidence that it needs to be reinforced by new
legislation, we will ask for this to be considered”, the Chief
Justice added.

                                                                      Responsible media
                                                                      The Chief Justice said that the print and broadcast media
                                                                      have given very little cause for concern in how they report
                                                                      and comment on court cases. In general they do so honestly,
                                                                      diligently and with great skill. They apply a restraint that stops
                                                                      them entering the arena by disparaging the intent of the court or
                                                                      focusing on claims not heard in court, shouting from the side-
                                                                      lines - trying to influence the referee as it were. That referee
                                                                      can be either a judge or a jury. Contempt law rightly attempts to
                                                                      prevent such influence.

                                                                      False claims from others
                                                                      “We must acknowledge that some concerns over social media
                                                                      are both widespread and real. There are genuine concerns over
                                                                      the dissemination of false and malicious claims which damage
                                                                      social debate, learning, and understanding. Such false claims
 Pictured at a journalism seminar in the Criminal Courts              can come just as much from the organised and powerful as
 of Justice were (l to r): President of the National Union of         they can from the single contrarian in a basement, or a ‘hobby
 Journalists Sian Jones, NUJ Irish Secretary Seamus Dooley            journalist’ in a court room.
 and Chief Justice Frank Clarke
                                                                      Bullying and dangers online
                                                                      “Despite the great good social media brings to many areas of
Integrity of a fair trial                                             life and society, such as the banishment of isolation, or providing
“The key legitimate concern of the courts is to ensure the            a link to the past or to those distant, false claims can target
integrity of the trial process and the maintenance of a fair trial    the individual to the detriment of their reputation, health, and
system. The potential for unregulated social media to have            or even existence. Online lies and bullying can and have led to
an impact on the fairness of the trial process itself is, in my       death for some.
view, a legitimate and particular concern of the judiciary. To
date it has been rare that courts in Ireland have had to use          There are also dedicated and organised attempts at damaging
contempt of court laws to curb inaccurate and disruptive online       others, from both those with an interest in maintaining the
communications about cases. But it would be extremely naïve of        status quo and those who seek to disrupt power. In some
us not to plan for the future in this regard. There is a need for     respects social media is a democratisation of influence. In other
guidance and rules on use of social media and digital devices in      respects it is a challenge to democracy if anyone seeks to own or
the courts. This extends to the use of social media by observers      control much of social media as the new public sphere”.
of a case, and to a lesser extent the use of same by jurors”.
COURTS SERVICE NEWS New Courthouses Review of 2018 Festive features - NUACHT NA SEIRBHÍSE CÚIRTEANNA -

                                                                           Courthouse facilities: adaptation and extension
                                                                           The Cathaoirleach of Westmeath County Council John Dolan
                                                                           said that the adaptation and extension of the existing Mullingar
                                                                           Courthouse building has allowed the Courts Service to provide
                                                                           appropriate modern facilities for a historic county town, while
                                                                           contributing to its ongoing regeneration and evolution. “The
                                                                           building provides significantly improved courthouse facilities for
                                                                           all its users and allows the continued use of the building for its
                                                                           original purpose and consolidates civic uses in this part of the

 Courts Service CEO Brendan Ryan, President of the Circuit Court           Facilities include three courtrooms and a new public office. The
 Mr Justice Raymond Groarke and Chief Justice Frank Clarke                 family law courtroom is on a new floor which did not exist in the
 with staff of the Mullingar Office                                        original courthouse. User facilities include a vulnerable witness
                                                                           suite, victim support room, legal practitioner’s room, enhanced
Speaking at the recent opening of the new courthouse in                    custody facilities, media room, jury rooms, consultation rooms
Mullingar, Chief Justice Frank Clarke said “The new courthouse is          and other support facilities. The courtrooms are all accessible.
built to reflect the best of current thinking on courthouse design,        All circulation routes within the building – public, staff/judiciary,
insofar as it is possible within the confines of an historic building.     custody and jury are fully accessible.
It is designed and built to be, as far as possible in an historic
building, universally accessible. This is important to those with
mobility difficulties and as a symbol of the accessibility of justice in
our community. I congratulate and thank all who were involved in
this project”, he said.

                                                                            Emma Potts, Estate Managment Unit, Chief Justice Frank
                                                                            Clarke, Minister for Justice and Equality Charles Flanagan, Paul
 Former District Court Clerks in Mullingar Courthouse : Elisha              Burns, Head of Infrastructure Services Directorate and Cillian
 D’Arcy, Mick Dorrigan and Pat Kelly                                        Smith, EMU

                                                  repair work on a recent visit high up on the       Significant work has been carried out
                                                  iconic landmark. As previously reported,           on the roof at dome level. These works
                                                  a lot of the work, which is managed by the         included cleaning and repairing granite
                                                  OPW, centres on repairing the damaged              stone, replacing copper sheeting and
                                                  capitals on the exterior of the dome. In           installation of safety systems for future
                                                  total there are 24 capitals, these are             maintenance.
                                                  the top of the columns that support the
                                                  dome. Two were replaced in 2017 and                An engineer has now been appointed
                                                  one is being carved in Scotland at the             for the next phase which will commence
                                                  moment and will replace another capital            in January 2019. This work will include
                                                  in 2019. The replacement capitals are              more capital replacements, removal and
As refurbishment of the Four Courts               made from Portland stone and each weigh            replacement of the steel band around the
dome continues, Courts Service News was           approximately 800kg.                               dome and soffit stone repairs.
privileged to get an up-close look at the
COURTS SERVICE NEWS New Courthouses Review of 2018 Festive features - NUACHT NA SEIRBHÍSE CÚIRTEANNA -

Our HR Unit has been visiting a number of universities and
secondary schools as part of our mission to promote the Courts
Service as an employer of choice and to encourage school
leavers to consider a career in law. Recruitment Manager
Lindsey Maidment tells us more:

In October we attended careers fairs in universities promoting
the judicial assistant role within the Courts Service. We were
accompanied by some of our new judicial assistant recruits
who could explain first-hand the role and career options
available from this post.

St. Pauls Secondary School in Greenhills, Dublin invited us
to attend their inaugural careers evening on 16th October.                      Lindsey Maidment, HR (far left) and Denise Cole, Head of HR
The evening provided the students with an opportunity to                        (far right) with students in St. Paul’s Secondary School.
discuss career and college options with former students who
have progressed to third level and to speak directly to a wide                In November, we were invited to attend a careers day
selection of third level institutions. The Courts Service was the             in Portmarnock Secondary School, Dublin. This event
only employer to have a stand at the event and we discussed                   provided the students with an opportunity to connect with
the diverse career opportunities available in our organisation.               representatives from a wide range of professions including a
It was evident from our discussions that their regular                        barrister, a solicitor and An Garda Síochána. Engagement with
participation in the Courts Service School Visit programme                    these professionals helps to actualise in the students’ mind
and other Transition Year initiatives has opened up their eyes to             that education can take them places they had never thought of.
a career in law.
                                                                              We look forward to attending similar events in 2019.

The Chief Justice joined the Lord Chief                The exhibition, which includes
Justice of Northern Ireland to launch an               photographs of the barristers, is on view
exhibition in the Four Courts to remember              alongside the memorial sculpture which
the 25 barristers who died in World War 1.             names them. It was launched during
                                                       a remembrance ceremony to mark
                                                       the 100-year anniversary of Armistice
                                                       Day. The Chief Justice said that “we are
                                                       honoured to commemorate those brave
                                                       and heroic members of the Irish Bar that
                                                       fought in World War 1. It is only proper
                                                       to acknowledge their selfless service in
                                                       pursuit of peace”.

                                                       World War 1 had a profound and far-
                                                       reaching impact on the Irish Bar. The
                                                       Irish Law Times War Supplement of 1916
                                                       numbered 126 barristers as enlisted which
                                                       amounted to 42% of the total Irish Bar
                                                       membership of 300. In addition, 160 sons
                                                       of barristers enlisted in the War.
                                                                                                      One of the posters detailing the stark
 The existing memorial                                                                                statistics

The Irish language moot court,
Bréagchúirt Uí Dhálaigh, took place
in the Four Courts on 9th November,
with first prize going to Law Society
team, Áine Haberlin and Feidhlim
Mac Róibín. This long-standing event
is organized annually by Gael Linn
in memory of the late Cearbhall Ó
Dálaigh, former President and Chief
Justice of Ireland.

Competing this year were teams from
University College Dublin, Dublin
City University and The Law Society
of Ireland. The delighted winners
received a cheque for €600 along
with the Gael Linn Perpetual Trophy,
while the runners-up Caoimhín Ó
Ceallaigh and Tommy MacDiarmada
of University College Dublin received
a cheque for €300.

Gael Linn thanked barristers Cormac
Ó Dúlacháin, Daithí Mac Cárthaigh
and solicitor Pól Ó Murchú, for
their continued support for the
competition, and barrister Kate Ní
Chonfhaola, who helped organize         Pictured (l to r): Majella Ní Thuama BL, Luan Ó Braonáin, S.C., Feidhlim Mac Róibín and
the event. Lead-up. They also           Áine Haberlin, winners of Breágchúirt Uí Dhálaigh 2018, Antoine Ó Coileáin, Gael Linn
acknowledged the support of Kings       Chief Executive and Séamus Ó Tuathail, S.C.
Inns and the Courts Service.

                                                                       UCD WIN NATIONAL
                                                                       MOOT COURT COMPETITION
                                                                      University College Dublin Sutherland School of Law won
                                                                      the National Moot Court Competition recently held in the
                                                                      Criminal Courts of Justice.

                                                                      They faced a stiff challenge from their Dublin City
                                                                      University opponents in the final. DCU were the official
                                                                      hosts of this year’s competition sponsored by Matheson.

                                                                       The final was judged by Ms. Justice Elizabeth Dunne, Mr.
                                                                      Justice Tony O’Connor and Christine Simpson (associate
                                                                      solicitor from Matheson) and the team of Mark O’Brien
                                                                      O’Reilly and Mark Gilmore were victorious.

Earlier this year Peter Mullan, formerly an Assistant Secretary        on resources and can be complicated and may take time.”
with the Dept. of Justice & Equality, joined the Courts Service        His perception of the Courts Service has changed since he
as Head of Circuit Court and District Court Operations. Peter          arrived. He now appreciates the “the size and complexity of the
is a well-known figure in the Dublin legal community, having           organisation. There are 5-600 people in the Circuit and District
spent over 20 years as a solicitor undertaking defence work,           area alone, in the 33 offices outside Dublin. It is an enormous
and then as the Chief Prosecution Solicitor in the Office of           organisation. Even the number of courtrooms we operate and
the DPP. More recently he felt it was time to offer himself to         the level of ICT challenges after ten years of limited resources.
public service in a different way.                                     The sheer scale of all this became obvious to me when I joined
                                                                       the Service”.
He says that he enjoys “undertaking something which is bigger
than yourself, something with challenges. I didn’t see myself as       Peter is almost half way through his visits to court offices
a public servant in my future just as I hadn’t seen myself being       around the country which he sees as a vital task of his new
a solicitor. I only tend to look at career in terms of the next 2-3    role. By travelling he sees the difference between the sizes and
years”.                                                                styles of offices and the huge areas of activity they cover. He
                                                                       is also keenly aware of the turnover in staff with some areas
He feels the change to the CPS was not huge, but that the              having 50% plus staff with less than two years’ experience.
public policy issues, which his change to the Dept brought,            He acknowledges the loss of institutional wisdom but sees it
made him realise “you could try to solve bigger problems. As           as also bringing “a new and more youthful energy, with many
a solicitor you do your best for your client. As a public servant      coming into the service enormously well qualified”.
you are dealing with ideas and demands. When you get it right,
you can leave things better than before”.                              On changes to service delivery he notes that although “we
                                                                       work in a conservative profession there is a huge willingness
                                                                       to accept e-filing and other ICT changes. There is a need for
                                                                       big investment in this area and a window of opportunity at the
                                                                       moment with extra monies available”.

                                                                       He feels that as regards the Courts Service the “seeds of
                                                                       change are sown”. He is very conscious that staff are aware
                                                                       of the need for change, and that this is acknowledged by
                                                                       managers across the organisation”.

                                                                         OTHER STAFF CHANGES AT SENIOR LEVEL
                                                                         Peter Mullan’s appointment as Head of Circuit Court and
                                                                         District Court Directorate was one of a number of senior
                                                                         Courts Service appointments during the year.

                                                                         Alice White was promoted from Assistant Principal in the
                                                                         Central Office of the High Court to Principal Officer in the
                                                                         same office in January. Kevin Fidgeon was promoted from
                                                                         Assistant Principal in C&D Operations to the Superiors
                                                                         Courts Directorate in the Probate Office in June.

                                                                         Their appointments brought to seven the number of
As a court user himself for over 20 years he brings a                    principal officers appointed from a panel established
perspective of the solicitor and those appearing in court to his         following a competition in 2015. The other appointments
role in the Courts Service. In the Department of Justice he got          were Audrey Leonard, Shay Keary, Patricia Troy, Cillian
an idea of others demands on the Service but now that he is              Smith and Mary Kelly.
here “I realise that even simple changes can have huge effects

Friends, family and colleagues of the late                                                                  because she respected everyone in it. We
District Court Judge Gráinne O’Neill were                                                                   will come by this way every morning on our
in attendance at the unveiling of a painting                                                                way to court and it will act as an inspiration
in her memory on the 8th Floor of the                                                                       to us if we have a difficult day.”
Criminal Courts of Justice recently. The
print is by Kelvin Mann, a New Zealander                                                                    Terry O’Neill thanked those who organised
based in Dublin since 1997.                                                                                 the print and said it was very special to
                                                                                                            them. He said the image of wild geese
President of the District Court, Judge                                                                      was a reminder of Judge O’Neill’s travels
Rosemary Horgan welcomed Judge                                                                              and spoke fondly of the cards the family
O’Neill’s father Terry O’Neill (Col. Retired),                                                              received from all over the world extending
brother Olaf, sister Fiona, sister in law                                                                   their sympathies.
Christina, brother in law Alan and her
nephews Harry and Simon. She also                                                                           Judge Colin Daly thanked Courts Service
welcomed Frances McVeigh, widow of                                                                          CEO Brendan Ryan, Criminal Courts
Judge Derek McVeigh whom Judge O’Neill                                                                      of Justice Manager Tom Ward, Head of
was apprenticed to as a young solicitor.                                                                    Judicial Support Unit Elisha D’Arcy and
Friends of Judge O’Neill, Garda Inspector                                                                   Dolores Moore for their assistance. He also
Ollie Baker, Tony O’Donoghue and Rachel                   to have a mix of work and any opportunity         thanked his colleagues from the District
Maher also attended.                                      to discover Ireland and all of its court          Judges Association Judge Bryan Smyth,
                                                          locations.                                        Judge Ann Ryan, Judge Deirdre Gearty
                                                                                                            and Judge Marie Keane for their help in
                                                          Then there were dispatches on her                 making it happen.
                                                          many cycling tours of the Burren and
                                                          Ring of Kerry; and her constant awe and
                                                          admiration of secretary to the President of
                                                          the District Court, Dolores Moore.

                                                           “Although it was a short time as a judge
                                                          she made her mark. She is missed but we
 Judge Bryan Smyth unveils the print on the 8   th

 Floor of the CCJ                                         celebrate her life and the foot print she left
                                                          on all of our lives” said President Horgan
President Horgan said it was a total                      before she called on Judge Bryan Smyth to
honour to give tribute to her late colleague              unveil the print.
and friend and a print of geese migrating
was “a metaphor if ever there was one                     Judge Ann Ryan said she only knew Judge
for the life of a moveable judge”. She                    O’Neill for the four years she was on the
recalled Judge O’Neill’s dispatches from                  bench but felt like she knew her a lot “She       Judge Gráinne O’Neill died in May 2018
around the country saying she was happy                   commanded fantastic respect for her court         aged 47 years.

                                                     BRIAN JOINS OUR EDITORIAL TEAM
                                                     We are delighted to welcome Brian Stephens to our editorial team for this issue of Courts
                                                     Service News. Brian is in his final year of a BA (Hons) in Marketing and Digital Media degree
                                                     programme at Waterford Institute of Technology Business School. His placement with the
                                                     Courts Service has enabled him learn about the court system and most particularly assist with
                                                     projects including website development, digital publications and outreach.

                                                     “I’d like to thank everyone at the Courts Service for being so welcoming to me. The placement
                                                     was such a great experience as it gave me the opportunity to get a real insight into how the
                                                     court structure works but also enabled me to work closely on projects which will benefit me
                                                     going forward”, Brian says.

                                                     We wish Brian every success with his future career.

                                                                                                     Charleston, Salsa and Jive. Judges on
                                                                                                     the night were District Judge Mary Emer
                                                                                                     Larkin, District Judge Marion O’Leary and
                                                                                                     retired District Judge Aeneas McCarthy.
                                                                                                     The show was MC’d by Will Leahy
                                                                                                     (solicitor) of RTE and Declan Copues BL of
                                                                                                     Limerick’s Live 95FM.

                                                                                                     The winners were Elizabeth Walsh and
                                                                                                     Ger O’Neill who performed a fantastic
                                                                                                     Argentine tango. The night finished off
                                                                                                     with a few beverages and we celebrated
                                                                                                     into the wee small hours. There have been
                                                                                                     promises of keeping up the dancing and
                                                                                                     a couple of us have started dance classes
                                                                                                     with our dance instructor for the show,
                                                                                                     Bridget Harte.
     The entire ensemble of Strictly Legal Eagles
                                                                                                     We look forward to a reunion night when
Hilary McSweeney of Limerick Court Office              Niamh White (Elizabeth Walsh & Co),           we will get to see the show on DVD and
reports on a great initiative that kept her, and       Rachel Meehan (Meehan & Co), and              reminisce on our 15 minutes of fame.
others, on their toes for a very worthy cause:         Maria Riordan (Limerick Court Office)
                                                       were on hand to assist Derek and make
On 1st November members of the Limerick                all the arrangements for the dancers of
Solicitors’ Bar Association, barristers of             our 6-8 weeks of training and running
the South Western Circuit, Courts Service              the event on the night. As Derek said,
staff and law students of University of                all the dancers were used to courtrooms
Limerick donned their dancing shoes to                 but very few were used to ballrooms and
woo the crowds at the South Court Hotel                it was outside all of our comfort zones.
in Limerick City. All monies raised will               Nonetheless we embraced the challenge
go to two worthy charities, the Children’s             and had some great fun, particularly at
Grief Centre and Mid-Western Cancer                    the group dance lessons and practices.
Foundation.                                            The night commenced with a group routine
                                                       performance. Each couple then did an
Derek Walsh of Keating Connolly Sellors                individual routine which ranged from            Hillary McSweeney, Courts Service and
Solicitors convinced 19 more of us to take             Argentine Tango, Freestyle, Samba, Strictly     Bryan Sheehan, David Sheehan and Co.
part. The organising committee of                      Ballroom, Latin mix, Jitterbug, Lindy           on stage

  PRACTICE & PROCEDURE                                  These rules amend the Rules of               59A (Civil Partnership and Certain
                                                        the Superior Courts to facilitate            Rights and Obligations of Cohabitants
  SUPERIOR COURTS                                       the operation of Part IVB (Periodic          Act 2010)
  S.I. 428 of 2018                                      Payments Orders) of the Civil Liability      S.I. 429 of 2018
  Rules of the Superior Courts (Appeals                 Act 1961, as inserted by section 2 of the    Circuit Court Rules (Proof of Foreign
  from the Circuit Court) 2018                          Civil Liability (Amendment) Act 2017.        Public Documents and Translations)
  These Rules amend the Superior Court                                                               2018
  Rules by the substitution in rule 5 of                CIRCUIT COURT
  Order 110 and by the substitution of                  S.I. 427 of 2018                             These Rules amend Order 23 of the
  Forms 1, 2 and 3 in Appendix I.                       Circuit Court Rules (Family Law) 2018        Circuit Court Rules to provide for the
  S.I. 430 of 2018                                      These Rules amend the Circuit Court          various methods of authentication of
  Rules of the Superior Courts (Personal                Rules by substituting Order 59 (Family       documents completed in or issuing
  Injuries: Periodic Payment Orders) 2018               Law) and substituting rule 39 of Order       from foreign countries.

                                                                                                 The festive season is fast approaching, and
                                                                                                 while for many it’s the most wonderful time
                                                                                                 of year, others find it difficult. For those who
                                                                                                 have recently experienced bereavement, a
                                                                                                 separation, depression or problems with
                                                                                                 alcohol, Christmas can be a particularly
                                                                                                 challenging and often lonely time.

                                                                                                 If you know someone who appears to be
                                                                                                 struggling, is frequently anxious, short-
                                                                                                 tempered or low and depressed, consider
                                                                                                 reaching out to them this Christmas. It is
                                                                                                 not necessary to be an expert in mental
                                                                                                 health to start a conversation with a
                                                                                                 colleague, friend or loved one.

                                                                                                 Here are some tips that might help.

  • Find a suitable place, ideally outside      • Ask open questions: – What support do        • Avoid clichés. Comments like ‘pull
    of the office; perhaps a café or go for a     you have in place? What would you like         yourself together’ or ‘what will be, will
    walk.                                         to happen in this situation?”                  be’ are not helpful.

  • The conversation could be started with      • Use positive body language, and              • Don’t make the conversation about you:
    a simple ‘How are you?’ Once a person         encourage the person to continue with          avoid saying things like ‘I know how you
    knows they are being given the space          small verbal comments like ‘I see’ or          feel’ or ‘The same thing happened to
    and time to talk, they often will.            ‘what happened next?’                          me.’

  • Actively listen to the person, and give     • Check your understanding by                  • The important thing is to listen, rather
    them your undivided attention. Keep           paraphrasing what the person has said          than give advice, the individual needs to
    your phone switched on silent and             back to them.                                  be able to act for themselves.
    refrain from looking at your watch.
                                                • Respond by using empathetic                  • Be reassuring and signpost them to
  • Don’t interrupt - try to leave any            statements such as: “I appreciate this         support such as LawCare, HR, another
    questions or comments you may have            must be difficult for you…”                    colleague or suggest they visit their GP.
    until the person has finished.

If you are worried about a colleague you        Law Care supports and promotes good             their mental health and wellbeing, and to
can call the LawCare helpline on 1800 991       mental health and wellbeing in the legal        promote understanding of how and when to
801, 9am-7.30pm weekdays, 10am-4pm              community throughout Ireland, the UK, Isle      seek help, without fear or stigma.
week-ends and bank holidays. The helpline       of Man and Jersey. Law Care’s mission is to     Visit
is free, independent and confidential.          help the legal community with personal or
                                                professional concerns that may be affecting

                             DEATH OF RETIRED JUDGE TIMOTHY CROWLEY
                             The death has taken place, aged 83, of the former District Court Judge Timothy
                             Crowley. He was appointed to the District Court in 1992 and retired in 2001.

                             He is survived by his wife Blaithait, children Caroline, David and Tim, brothers Father
                             Roderic and Laurence and sister Marianne.

                                          MS. JUSTICE LAFFOY APPOINTED PRESIDENT OF
                                          LAW REFORM COMMISSION
                                          Her appointment is yet another step in her long     She was appointed a judge of the High Court
                                          and illustrious career. It began in 1968 when       in April 1995 and was primarily involved in civil
                                          she graduated from University College Dublin        litigation, principally in the area of chancery
                                          with a B.A. degree. Between 1968 and 1971           law. She was appointed to the Supreme Court
                                          she studied law at University College Dublin        in October 2013 and retired in June 2017.
                                          and at the Honourable Society of King’s Inns.
                                          She was called to the Bar in July 1971 and the      Ms Justice Laffoy chaired the Citizens’
                                          Inner Bar in 1987.                                  Assembly from July 2016 to June 2018, when it
                                                                                              published its Final Report.

                                          APPOINTMENT: NEW PRESIDENT OF THE LAW SOCIETY
                                          Mr. Patrick Dorgan has been appointed as the        “It is a great honour to be elected president at
                                          148th president of the Law Society. Mr Dorgan,      a time when there are over 18,000 names on
                                          who specialises in property law at Cork firm        the roll of solicitors. The profession is growing
                                          Ronan Daly Jermyn, will serve as the head of        rapidly, with nearly 1,000 solicitors added to
                                          the society, which acts as the representative       the roll last year,” he said.
                                          and regulatory body for Irish solicitors, for the
                                          next 12 months.

                                          MS. JUSTICE CAROLINE COSTELLO
                                          Ms. Justice Caroline Costello has been              the High Court bench in 2014 she dealt with the
                                          appointed a judge of the Court of Appeal. She       chancery and bankruptcy lists.
                                          was educated at University College Dublin,
                                          University of Oxford and King’s Inns.               During her time with the Incorporated Council of
                                                                                              Law Reporting for Ireland, she edited the book
                                          She was called to the Bar in 1988 and the Inner     The Four Courts: 200 Years which was published
                                          Bar in 2010. She practised in many areas of         in 1996 to commemorate the 200th anniversary
                                          law including commercial, banking, insolvency,      of the first sitting in the Four Courts.
                                          property and probate. On her appointment to

                                          MS. JUSTICE ISOBEL KENNEDY
                                          Ms. Justice Isobel Kennedy has been appointed       She was a member of the Bar Council (1995-
                                          a judge of the Court of Appeal. Educated at         1997) and was appointed a judge of the High
                                          University College Cork and King’s Inns she         Court in 2015.
                                          was called to the Bar in 1988 and the Inner
                                          Bar in 2003.                                        She was chairwoman of the Referendum
                                                                                              Commission for the 36th (Repeal of the
                                          She practised mainly in the areas of criminal       8th Amendment) and 37th (Blasphemy)
                                          law, judicial review and constitutional law.        Amendments in 2018.

      Mr. Garrett Simons SC has been appointed a judge of the High Court. Educated at Trinity
      College Dublin and King’s Inns he was called to the Bar in 1996 and the Inner Bar in 2007.
      He practised in Public Administration Law with an emphasis on Environmental and Planning
      Law as well as Immigration Law.

      He wrote the legal textbook Planning & Development Law and was a member of the editorial
      board of the Irish Law Reports Monthly.

      Mr. James McCourt, solicitor, has been appointed a judge of the Circuit Court. He was
      educated at University College Cork and the Law Society of Ireland.

      He was enrolled as a solicitor in 1981 and went on to be a partner in O’Mara, Geraghty,
      McCourt Solicitors where he amassed vast experience in criminal law, family law, personal
      injuries, commercial litigation, employment litigation, landlord and tenant litigation and
      probate disputes.

      He served as President of the Law Society (2012-2013) and as a Courts Service Board member
      (2014-2018). Throughout his time as a solicitor he also acted as Chair of the Independent
      Review Panel in respect of Permanent TSB tracker mortgages and Chair of the Disciplinary
      Committee Leinster Branch Rugby.

      Mr. John Hughes, Solicitor has been appointed a judge of the District Court.

      He was educated at Dublin City University, University College Galway, Harvard Law School and
      the Law Society.

      He was enrolled as a solicitor in 1996 and served as State Solicitor in County Offaly (2013-
      2018). He was managing partner in Hughes, Kehoe & Co Solicitors and practised in criminal
      law, family law and litigation.

                                                       College, and the King’s Inns. He was         involvement in ensuring the streaming
                                                       called to the Bar in 1976 and took silk in   of public hearings of the ECHR on the
                                                       1990.                                        internet. Tributes were also paid on
                                                                                                    behalf of the Bar Council, Law Society,
                                                       He served as a judge of the High Court       DPP, Garda and the Courts Service.
                                                       between 2007 and 2016 and a judge of
                                                       the European Court of Human Rights           Judge Hedigan thanked the people who
                                                       between 1998 and 2007. During his            “form the backbone of the courts system
                                                       time in the ECHR he was involved in          and ensure it operates”. He thanked his
                                                       the important case of Cyprus v Turkey        many colleagues, judicial assistants and
                                                       which emphasised the need to exhaust         ushers, and paid a special thanks to his
                                                       domestic legal remedies before bringing      wife Emer, siblings and extended family.
                                                       a case to Europe.                            He recalled that working as a barrister
                                                                                                    was a “remarkable career” and said that
                                                       President Bermingham recalled that           as a judge he had enjoyed the “tough
Colleagues, who assembled to wish                      during his time in the High Court, Mr        and fascinating” work of the courts. In
Judge John Hedigan well as he retired                  Justice Hedigan was prepared to work         general terms as a lawyer he said the
from the Court of Appeal, heard the                    in any area and presided over many high      work was at times was “terrifying and
leading tribute from the President of the              profile jury actions. He also worked         exhilarating” but also involved “speaking
Court Mr Justice George Birmingham.                    with “a heart and a half” as a judge of      for the voiceless and providing strength
He reminded everyone that the judge had                the Court of Appeal and was a “rock of       for the weak”.
a broad civil and criminal law practice,               common sense” who would be much
and that he was frequently called upon by              missed.                                      He said he intended to keep himself
former Director of Public Prosecutions,                                                             busy, and wouldn’t just “go quietly”. He
Eamonn Barnes “to wear the green                       The Attorney General reflected on Judge      finished by quoting former UN Secretary
jersey” in sensitive extradition matters.              Hedigan’s many years of “dedicated           General, Dag Hammarskjold saying, “for
                                                       service” to the State. Praising the judge    the past, thanks; for the future, yes.”
A Dubliner by birth, Judge Hedigan was                 for his long years of dedicated public
educated at Belvedere College, Trinity                 service, the Attorney mentioned his

                                                      JUDGE DOIRBHILE FLANAGAN RETIRES
                                                       Judge Doirbhile Flanagan took her leave      the Law Society Michele O’Boyle said
                                                       from the Circuit Court after 14 years        the judge had stamped her mark from
                                                       recently. A senior counsel before her        her very first sitting as an outstanding
                                                       appointment to the bench the judge sat       member of the judiciary. David Gilvarry
                                                       in many different parts of the country       BL paid tribute on behalf of the Midland
                                                       during her judicial years before being       Circuit Bar while Triona Hever thanked
                                                       assigned to Sligo six years ago.             Judge Flanagan on behalf of the staff of
                                                                                                    the Courts Service for her courtesy and
                                                       The Sligo practitioners turned out in        co-operation.
                                                       numbers to wish her well as she retired.
                                                       President of Sligo Solicitors’ Association   Thanking all for their kind words, the
                                                       Michael Monahan praised the judge’s          judge said that she had enjoyed her time
                                                       ability to clear the court lists and her     on the bench in Sligo. We wish her well
                                                       professional approach to her job. His        in her retirement.
                                                       words were echoed by retired State
                                                       Solicitor Hugh Sheridan. Speaking for

Judge Mary Devins has called time on a         “epitomised a District Court judge”.             of her in Ballycroy, County Mayo in 1999.
20 year career on the bench. Originally        Dermot Morahan, solicitor, on behalf             “It was a far different court at the time
from Derry, she was a solicitor prior          of the Mayo solicitors said that “there          with an open fire, tea and sandwiches”.
to her appointment as a District Court         is a saying in legal circles that you            He complimented her for always giving
judge in 1998. Educated at University          should always know your judge. If you            “sensible judgment, and lawful, logic
College Dublin she enrolled as a               knew Judge Devins, you came to court             and concise reasoning behind her
solicitor in 1972 and became a partner in      prepared or you didn’t show up”. He              sentencing”.
Armstrong and Devins in Sligo.                 commended her for always giving the
Tributes were paid to Judge Devins             accused and defending solicitors a full          State Solicitor Vincent Deane paid tribute
at Castlebar District Court in late            and fair hearing.                                to her “great sense of fairness, integrity
November. Peter Mooney, Manager of                                                              and humour” while Diarmuid Connolly,
Castlebar Court Office, led the tributes.      Superintendent Joe McKenna thanked               speaking on behalf of the barristers,
He said he enjoyed working with her            Judge Devins on behalf of An Garda               said that “every barrister always came
for the last thirteen years and that she       Síochána and recalled appearing in front         prepared to her court”.

                                               After 19 years in the Courts Service Ujen        We have all enjoyed working with Ujen.
                                               Naidoo has decided to retire and move            He was a valued team member in the
                                               on to sunnier climates. Ujen started his         Finance Unit and an enjoyable presence
                                               career in the Courts Service in December         in the Office.
                                               1999 in Dublin Circuit Court, he moved
                                               to Dun Laoghaire in 2003 and finally             While Ujen will be missed by all in the
                                               moved to the Finance Section in March            Finance Unit and Resource Management
                                               2006. Many will have engaged with                Directorate, we wish him a very long and
                                               Ujen during his time in Finance though           happy retirement with his wife Clare and
                                               a variety of work he was involved in:            their two sons.
                                               Appropriation Account, budgeting and
                                               the administrator of the FMS system.             John Cleere

PADDY KELLY RETIRES                                                   daughter-in-law Mary-Claire and his neighbours Chris and Alice
                                                                      Smith. Lots of people turned up, past and present colleagues
                                                                      including retired ushers and criers, registrars and other Court
                                                                      Service personnel. Paddy was in super form and was delighted to
                                                                      meet everyone again.

                                                                      Paddy has worked with seven judges over the past 32 years: Mr.
                                                                      Justice Patrick McKenzie from 1987-1992; Mr. Justice Declan
                                                                      Budd from 1992-2012; Mr. Justice Paul McDermott, Mr. Justice
                                                                      Kevin Cross, Mr. Justice Anthony Barr, Mr. Justice Henry Abot and
                                                                      he finished his service with Ms. Justice Bronagh O’Hanlon from

                                                                      Paddy was a very loyal usher and gave helpful advice to members
                                                                      of the Bar and solicitors. His colleagues presented him with gifts
 James Flannery, Paddy Kelly and Richie McNally
                                                                      from many people and he thanked everyone for attending.

High Court usher Paddy Kelly had his retirement evening on 15th       All the very best in your retirement Paddy. We will miss your
November 2018 in the Sheds, Distillery Building, Church Street,       humour around the courts.
Dublin. A great night was had by all, including his wife Marie, his
sons Anthony, Gerard and James, his daughter Susan, his               Maria Devitt, Anne Solan, Tom Griffiths


                                                                         ON THE
                                                                       BASIS of SEX
                                                                              Staring Acadamy Award Nominee Felicity Jones

On the Basis of Sex is inspired by the true            a woman and a mother it was even harder          Oscar winner Kathy Bates, give stand out
story of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg­                  to get a job”. In tracing her career she         support performances.
legendary judge of the Supreme Court                   recalled that “during WWII the US was
of the United States. It tells the story of a          fighting against tyrannical powers with
young, then struggling attorney and new                strong racist policies. Yet at home it was
mother who stands up to and tries to knock             forcing segregation in some States. This
all sorts barriers out of the way, as she tries        could not survive the experience of the War
to operate as a female student and lawyer,             and the aftermath saw the rebirth of the
and her fight for equal rights for others              civil rights and feminist movements”.
throughout her career.
                                                       “I would have made a great diva, if I had any
When Ruth takes on a groundbreaking tax                talent. But I have a monotone voice. I found
case with her husband, attorney Martin                 my talent was to be able to read, write
Ginsburg, she knows it could change the                and argue – what better qualifications to
direction of her career and the way the                become a lawyer. As a ‘kid from Brooklyn’,
courts view gender discrimination. That she            who went to university in the 1950’s, it was a
chose the case of a man being discriminated            bad time for personal liberties in the States,
against adds a genuine edge to the story.              as McCarthyism took hold. There was a red
                                                       scare at the time with the accusation that
The film also chronicles the storybook-                “there were communists in every closet.
like romance between Ruth and Marty, a                 I came to appreciate that lawyers were
partnership that the film shows flourishing            standing against that kind of tyranny and        It is obvious that much research and judicial
and succeeding both personally and                     defending people’s right to speak and write      cooperation went into the movie. Indeeed,
professionally. Indeed, Courts Service News            as they will”. In typical dead pan manner        the laws argued and the procedure are not
remembers meeting them some years                      she surmised to us, “Seemed to me that           only bang on, but get the atmosphere of the
back in Galway. She told us then about her             being a lawyer would be a good way of            adversarial US appeal courts. Ginsburg
early career and her dream of becoming                 earning as well as doing some good things        herself told Courts Service News that “all
a Supreme Court judge. “In 1959 when                   for the community”.                              argument is not a battle. It is intrusive
I was called to the bar no woman could                                                                  conversation between informed lawyers on
have dreamed she could one day be on                   On the Basis of Sex is directed by Mimi          the one side and the judges on the other.”
the Supreme Court. There had only been                 Leder (The Leftovers, Deep Impact) from an
one woman ever on a Federal Appellate                  original screenplay by Daniel Stiepleman (a      The movie in its penultimate scene shows
Court. My goal was to get a job in the legal           nephew of Judge Ginsburg). Felicity Jones        all of this “intrusive conversation” at its
profession”.                                           (Rogue One: A Star Wars Story) plays the         very best and frustrating glory. The final
                                                       young Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and Armie             scene as the young Ruth becomes the
She had a four year old daughter when                  Hammer (Call Me by Your Name, The Social         iconic justice is clever and poignant.
she graduated, and she recalled that “as               Network) is the young representation of
                                                       Marty Ginsburg. Our own Jack Reynor, and         Gerry Curran
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