Wednesday 16 October 2019

'Prodigious talent' recalled as Judge Hardiman is laid to rest

He was seen as a stern judge - but also had huge capacity for fun, mourners told

Mr Justice Adrian Hardiman. Photo: Steve Humphreys
Mr Justice Adrian Hardiman. Photo: Steve Humphreys
The coffin of Mr Justice Adrian Hardiman is carried from the Church of the Holy Name in Ranelagh, Dublin, yesterday. Photo: Colin Keegan
Pat Rabbitte at the funeral of Mr Justice Adrian Hardiman in Dublin yesterday. Photo: C O'Riordan
Michael McDowell at the funeral of Supreme Court Judge, Adrian Hardiman at the Church of the Holy Name, Ranelagh, Dublin. Photo: Colin Keegan
President Michael D Higgins and Sabina Higgins at the funeral of Mr Justice Adrian Hardiman yesterday. Photo: Colin Keegan

Deirdre Reynolds

Mr Justice Adrian Hardiman was remembered both as "an original thinker" and a devoted grandfather at a packed funeral ceremony.

Hundreds of mourners filled the Church of the Holy Name in Ranelagh to pay tribute to the accomplished Supreme Court judge who died suddenly on Monday.

In a moving eulogy, former Justice Minister and lifelong confidant Michael McDowell also described the father of three as "a loyal friend".

He said: "The fates have robbed us of someone who simultaneously excelled in his many different personae as husband, father, grandfather, an original thinker, an advocate and, for so many who are here, simply that of a loyal friend.

"During my acquaintance with Adrian, which started as a schoolboy at inter-school debates and lasted until Sunday, the one thing that I found about him was the constant fun and enjoyment that always surrounded Adrian in his leisure time."

Senior Counsel Mr McDowell, who studied alongside the respected author and historian at University College Dublin, continued: "So many people saw in him the stern judge, the relentless pursuer of a legal point - what many people never appreciated about him was his huge capacity to laugh at himself.

"He crossed swords with many people on many issues but he never, ever took any courtroom advocacy to the point of personal animosity.

"He was indeed a remarkable man."

Family, friends and colleagues from as far afield as the US and Australia began filing into the suburban church on Beechwood Avenue almost an hour before the 10am mass.

President Michael D Higgins and his wife Sabina, US Ambassador Kevin O'Malley and Chief Justice Ms Justice Susan Denham were just some of those who turned up to pay their respects to the 64-year-old who passed away at home.

Ex-TDs Lucinda Creighton, Mary Harney, Des O'Malley and Pat Rabbitte were also among the congregation who queued to sign a book of condolence. Taoiseach Enda Kenny was represented by his aide-de-camp.

During his long and illustrious career, Mr Justice Hardiman - who is survived by his wife Yvonne Murphy, a former Circuit Court judge, and their three sons, Eoin, Hugh and Daniel - helped found the Progressive Democrats and remained a member of the party until his appointment to the Supreme Court in 2000. An avid Joycean and fluent Irish speaker, he wrote numerous books, including one which is set to be published posthumously by Faber & Faber in London.

But his proudest moment, according to his best friend, was becoming a granddad.

Paying homage to the "prodigious talent", Mr McDowell said: "In addition to knowing and loving the work of our great poets, Adrian was himself no mean poet.

"On the occasion of the christening of each of his grandchildren here in this church, Adrian would compose and recite at the baptismal font an ode of welcome and joy for each of his infant grandchildren.

"Many's the time I went out with him for meals and his attention was focused entirely on the words spoken, the gestures made and the smiles of his grandchildren.

"He was truly blessed."

Speaking after the funeral mass, Mr Justice Hardiman's son Eoin, who is also a barrister, told how the family took comfort in the fact that he hadn't suffered in death. He said: "It's a great source of solace to the family that right up to his last day he never suffered any illness or felt any pain, and the only medic he had to see at the end was his dearly beloved son, Dr Daniel."

Irish Independent

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