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Thursday 24 August 2017

Late Mr Justice Paul Carney was a 'devoted servant of the law', funeral hears

Colourful character: Judge Paul Carney
Colourful character: Judge Paul Carney
Dearbhail McDonald

Dearbhail McDonald

The late High Court judge, Mr Justice Paul Carney, was "a devoted servant of the law" for 50 years of his life, his funeral service has heard.

As the country's most senior criminal law judge, he "knew better than most about human sin and evil and depravity," chief celebrant Monsignor Lorcan O'Brien told mourners including Judge Carney's wife Dr Marjorie Young and their children Rosalind, Philip, Jules and Jonathan.

"In the face of that knowledge he remained a wise and just man," said Msgr O'Brien in his homily, adding that the late judge must have accepted trials during his long tenure on the bench - including some of the most serious criminal law cases to come before our courts - "at some significant cost to himself". 

Judge Carney, who died after a short illness, had just retired from the bench last April.

Almost all judges of the Superior Courts (Supreme, Court of Appeal and High Court) attended the funeral service as well as many judges from the Circuit and District Courts.

Judges, serving and retired, who attended included the Chief Justice Mrs Justice Susan Denham, former Chief Justices Mr Justice Ronan Keane and Mr Justice John L Murray as well as the President of the High Court Mr Justice Nicholas Kearns and his wife Eleanor.

Retired Supreme Court judge Mrs Justice Catherine Mc Guinness, Brendan Ryan, the CEO of the Courts Service and David Barniville SC, Chairman of the Bar Council, were also among a large number of people who attended the funeral service at the Church of the Sacred Heart in Donnybrook, Dublin.

Retired Supreme Court Judge Mr Justice Donal Barrington with whom Judge Carney had devilled was also amongst the mourners.

Claire Loftus, the Director of Public Prosecutions, and Alex White, Minister of Communications, former Tanaiste Mary Harney, former leader of the Progressive Democrats Des O'Malley, and former Minister Pat Rabbitte were also in attendance.

The President and Taoiseach were represented by their Aide de Camps.

Five symbols of the late judge's life were brought to the altar at the service by his four adult children and by Ann Solan, the late judge's devoted tipstaff.

There was laughter when Judge Carney's daughter, Rosalind Carney, presented her father's wig.

Although many judges no longer wear their wigs in court, Judge Carney was a stickler for tradition, often insisting that barristers wear theirs in his courtroom.

Msgr O'Brien said that the wig was one "from which he would not be parted".

Other symbols included Judge Carney's conferring parchment, a radio "to which his ear was usually attuned" and a Swedish book representing his early life and family - Judge Carney had lived in Sweden for several years as a child.

Judge Carney's gavel was presented by Ann Solan, his loyal tipstaff of many years, who is also a cousin of the late judge.

Special prayers were led for victims of violence and hatred and their families, the sick, nurses, the homeless and those displaced by war.

The eulogy was delivered by retired solicitor John Rochford, a friend of the late judge.

It has been a difficult week for the legal profession following the death of Judge Carney and Senior Counsel Brendan Nix who last March - on the occasion of Judge Carney's retirement from the bench - said that "in the entire history of the bar" there had never been anyone like Judge Carney. 

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