Tributes paid to Donegal circuit court judge

Barrister Peter Nolan led the tributes to the Co. Louth native at Letterkenny Circuit Court today.

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Tributes paid to Donegal circuit court judge

Judge John O'Hagan

Tributes have been paid to circuit court judge, John O’Hagan, who is presiding over his final court session in Donegal before his retirement.

Judge O’Hagan was appointed to the bench in 1998 and has sat in Donegal during most of that time.

Barrister Peter Nolan led the tributes to the Co. Louth native at Letterkenny Circuit Court today.

“I want to thank you for your service, for your humanity, for how you dealt with the cases and for how you dealt with the people who came before you,” he said.

“You are a very experienced judge and we have been very lucky to have you. On behalf of the bar I want to thank you for your service, your assistance, your common sense, your humanity, your wisdom and your judgement.”

He said he also wanted to thank the judge for his “generosity and common sense you have shown to the people who have had the pleasure of appearing before you”.

He said he had been extremely compassionate to all the accused who came before him.

“I hope you have a happy and full retirement and you get as much out of that as you did out of your time as a judge.”

State counsel Patricia McLaughlin said Judge O’Hagan had put in a lot of hard work over the years to deal with very long lists.

“You were extremely compassionate to all the accused who came before,” she said.

Solicitor Ciaran MacLochlainn, who also served as state solicitor during Judge O’Hagan’s time in Donegal, said the judge had dealt with “every major tragedy in Donegal in the last 20-odd years”.

“You have dealt with cases with sympathy respect and great fairness,” he said.

“That’s the hallmark of your tenure in Donegal and that will live long after you are gone and people will remember you for your fairness.”

Judge O’Hagan said he had to thank his late father, who was a district court judge, for all the advice he’d had given him.

He said everyone had worked very hard to reduce the list of indictable cases from about 165 when he arrived to around 50.

He also thanked court staff, probation service staff, gardaí, prison officers and the press.

Judge O’Hagan said he will be back in the county “in civvy mode” and that he was looking forward to his retirement.