After dispensing justice in the south east circuit for fourteen years, Judge Olive Buttimer has retired from the bench.
Glowing tributes were paid to Judge Buttimer on her last day on the circuit at Clonmel Circuit Court last Friday.
Father of the bar John Walsh, BL, said it was an honour to appear before Judge Buttimer prior to introducing other speakers which included Jack Fitzgerald,SC,Fred Binchy, Solicitor, and Garda Superintendent John Courtney.
Judge Buttimer, who was accompanied on the day by Judge Alice Doyle and Judge Tom Teehan, thanked the President of Ireland, the government, Minister of Justice and the President of the Circuit Court, all her colleagues, barristers, solicitors, the Garda Siochanna and the wonderful court staff for their loyalty and support.
She hit out at plans to abolish the system of appointing judge criers and said it would effect court productivity.
She praised the criers that had served with her over the years and said it would be a ‘disaster waiting to happen’ if their role was done away with because judges were exhausted after spending long days in court and should not be expected to drive home. Judge Buttimer said the cutback would be counter productive as judges would leave work earlier if they had to drive home themselves
Judge Alice Doyle said that Judge Buttimer had enjoyed a long and distinguished career at the bar and on the bench. She said that Judge Buttimer had worked tirelessly, in her gentle and caring way, so that litigants did not go home disappointed that their case had not been reached. She showed unending patience and politeness to all which would never be forgotten.
Jack Fitzgerald, Senior Counsel, under whom Judge Buttimer ‘devilled’ when she first became a barrister, said it was a sad day but also a day of triumph. The decision to appoint her to the bench was a brilliant one and he paid tribute to her on all that she had achieved during her successful years on the bench.
“You have served the people of Ireland magnificently,” he said.
Clonmel solicitor Fred Binchy said Judge Buttimer would be remembered for her exceptional dedication to service. He thanked her for the manner in which she dealt with members of the legal practice and said she would be remembered for her courtesy, patience and integrity.
Superintendent John Courtney said it was greatly appreciated over the years the manner in which Judge Buttimer carried out her dealings with members of the Garda Siochanna and he would remember the fair, direct and strong manner in which she had dealt with criminal cases.