DISTRICT Court Judge Mary O'Halloran officially retired this week, bringing to an end a career characterised by 'fairness and efficiency' - in the words of the Kerry Law Society.
Presiding in the north Kerry/west Limerick jurisdiction of District 13 for many years, Judge O'Halloran was noted for the introduction of a special programme designed to help defendants struggling with alcohol problems.
It is not known how the judicial system here will be reconfigured in the wake of her retirement as yet, but many in the legal profession now believe the entire county could become a single justice district under one judge.
"On behalf of the Law Society of Kerry I would like to wish Judge O'Halloran the very best and a long and healthy retirement," Law Society Chairman John Galvin told The Kerryman.
"Judge O'Halloran has served in Kerry all through her career, first as a solicitor and latterly as a judge. As a judge she always dealt efficiently and fairly with people and was especially notable for the alcohol awareness programme, the Court Alcohol Programme, she introduced in response to her deep awareness of the problems of defendants who came before her," Mr Galvin added.
Judge O'Halloran took swift action to introduce the programme seeing the numbers of people coming before her court charged in relation to offences in which alcohol intoxication was a significant factor.
Mr Galvin praised the court alcohol programme as a 'great success' which he said will remain a great legacy of Judge O'Halloran's to the county's legal system.
It is believed that District 17 presiding judge, James O'Connor, will take over responsibility for the execution of justice in the entire county.
The Court Service of Ireland are currently planning to close four rural courthouses - Dingle, Killorglin, Cahersiveen and Kenmare. This would leave just three centres of justice in the county: Tralee, Killarney and Listowel.
Judge O'Connor already presides over Killarney and Tralee and Listowel could be moved within his ambit under the plans. Galway native Judge Mary Larkin is currently sitting in Listowel District Court.