Donegal’s new District Court judge was welcomed to District Number One when he took to the bench at Letterkenny District Court yesterday morning.
Senior legal practitioner, Paudge Dorrian, started by offering Judge Paul Kelly a “cead mile failte”.
He said Judge Kelly could expect the full support of the legal practitioners, Gardai and court staff and expressed the wish that he would stay longer in the jurisdiction than his recent predecessors.
He also said he hoped during his time on the bench that County Donegal’s “divided” jurisdiction could be restored.
“I would like to welcome you to your new appointment from all in the solicitor profession. I want to wish your a Cead mile failte to the county and to District Number 1. In this area we have excellent district court staff which you will find will help and support you. We have wonderful Garda Siochana officers who give sterling assistance in this county. Some of the solicitors can be a little bit difficult but you will be capable of dealing with them,” he quipped.
He added: “You are from Lexlip and I have had the pleasure of welcoming a number of judges to the area but unfortunately it has not been for long periods of time and I hope your period will be longer than the others who have moved but we always have enjoyed a wonderful relationship with the Bench.”
Mr Dorrian said he hoped Judge Kelly, a former Fianna Fail Town Councillor in Lexlip, would continue a practice introduced by a former judge of directing payments towards charity in certain cases.
“Judge John O’Donnell first suggested making payment s to groups like St Vincent de Paul etc. It was followed on by successive Judges and if you can follow on from this when adjudicating on certain cases. Unfortunately Donegal has been divided by the court authorities. Judge Kevin Kilrane had organised a system where we had the benefit of the lists being dealt with and they became shorter. We now hope that it can be restored,” he added.
State Solicitor Ciaran Liddy extended his welcome to Judge Kelly saying Donegal was a “unique” and “diverse” county and he encouraged him to enjoy the scenery it offers as he travels from court to court.
Garda Inspector David Murphy welcomed him and congratulated him on his recent appointment.
Seamus Byrne BL welcomed Judge Kelly on behalf of the local barristers.
Judge Kelly thanked everyone for their “heartwarming and sincere welcome” saying he was looking forward to working with them.
He said he endorsed Mr Dorrians comments on the court services staff in the county and also to continue the “good practices” put in place by his predecessors.
He said he only had a limited experience of Donegal, visiting only as a visitor in the past and was unaware of the “partition” of the jurisdiction.