Judge Flann Brennan, who is leaving the post he has held for the past 30 years as resident judge for district court area number 6 covering Dundalk and Drogheda, was paid warm and fulsome tributes today (Tuesday).
He is the longest serving judge on the District Court bench and is to take on a movable role as a Judge.
In an overflowing courtroom in Dundalk, members of the legal profession and the court service staff, past and present gathered as Roger McGinley senior member of the local solicitor profession, led the tributes to Judge Brennan.
He was joined by Donough McDonough on behalf of barristers, State Solicitor Fergus Mullen, Noreen Durnin, senior officer in the District Court Office, and Garda Superintendent Gerry Curley.
Mr McGinley said it was Louth and South Monaghan’s great good fortune to have him presiding for such a long period. He brought to the post “two highly desirable attributes high expertise and respect for the law, along with the qualities of compassion, concern and respect for all who appeared before him.”
He also always displayed good humour and if he might say –“good sense, and added that the attendance of former senior court clerks Gay Berkery and Brendan Cleary was an eloquent commentary of the relationship he had with staff.
He concluded “it is therefore with great regret we see you come to the end of this era. On behalf of my colleagues I wish you and Mrs Brennan the warmest wishes, a good life and contentment,” and that he would look back with” affection and no small pride "on his time in the district.
Mr McDonough recalled the Judge’s career as a barrister who was called to the bar in 1973 and built up a busy and successful practice, and remarked the bar’s loss was the judiciary’s gain.
He noted that it was an incredibly busy district where Dundalk and Drogheda courts went through 11,500 cases a year. Also Judge Brennan sat in the Special Criminal Court during his time dealing with high profile gangland and terrorist cases.
Most of all he would be remembered for the role he played in the district.
Garda Superintendent Gerry Curley acknowledged Judge Brennan’s role in the administration of justice over the last 32 years. He said he always treated members of the Garda Siochana with the utmost respect, and exercised patience with new young members.
Judge Brennan said he would miss sitting in Dundalk, and it was frightening to look back and see how quickly his time on the bench had passed.
So many were no longer here, and it was good to see a number who were present when he was appointed permanently to the district on December 12 1986.
He commented there had been vast changes in the business of the court since then, enormous changes in the district in certain areas.
He was grateful for the support he had of staff, saying he never had a problem over his 30 years.
He hoped it would not be the last occasion he sat in the courthouse. He had matters to deal with in August.