Tributes were paid to a long-serving and popular member of Thurles Gardaí in Thurles District Court with the announcement that Court Sergeant Tony Quinn was retiring from the force after 30 years of service.
Supt Pat Lordan led the tributes to Sgt Quinn on his last day in Court. “On behalf of An Garda Síochána, I’d like to wish him the best in his retirement, and for all the rest of his days.”
Supt Lordan said Sgt Quinn had helped him overcome the daunting task of transferring to Thurles in June 2010. Sgt Quinn had always supported young gardaí, solicitors, and barristers starting out in court.
“He’s been 30 years in the force, and celebrated 19 years as Court Sergeant. He treats everybody very fairly.” If ever anybody wanted to know if a defendant needed a course or treatment programme, “Tony would always err on the side of the person.” Sgt Quinn is also highly active in the community, and is involved in local sports and clubs. “He leads from the front, and gets everybody to achieve their goals,” added Supt Lordan.
Solicitor Patrick Kennedy spoke on behalf of the legal profession. “Sgt Quinn would have guided us and kept everybody in the Court here informed. Thurles is a very harmonious Court: that comes from the bench, and is due in no small way to the ground work put in by Sgt Quinn.” Solicitors could always ring Sgt Quinn for friendly advice, and “Tony would tell us what’s going on.
“Whatever about younger Gardaí, he always helped young solicitors, and perhaps those who strayed off the beaten track. That has persisted the whole way through. Dictionaries could be filled with the way Sgt Quinn guided us. I wish him well in whatever path he chooses,” added Mr Kennedy.
Chief Court Clerk Martin Hanton said Sgt Quinn “represents everything that is good about An Garda Síochána. Without his assistance, and the assistance of the other Court Sergeants, the Courts would be very difficult to run.” Sgt Quinn always rang the Court Service to sort out problems: a previous Judge once remarked that Sgt Quinn seemed to know more about what was happening in Court than himself! “We’re very lucky to have him,” added Mr Hanton. “Tony will be a hard act to follow.”
Judge Elizabeth MacGrath said Sgt Quinn is the real “cog in the wheel” for the local Court, in terms of his professionalism, efficiency, and human kindness. “If a good word was to be put in for a person, Sgt Quinn would do that. He’s been of great benefit to me. This is a situation where An Garda Síochána are losing somebody with huge experience and knowledge. The District Court could not possibly function without his dedication as Court Sergeant. There is no ‘Croke Park’ boundary to his level of commitment, and he has at times gone above and beyond the call of duty.”
Sgt Quinn thanked the court service staff, solicitors, and gardaí, Judge MacGrath and previous sitting Judge Tom O’Donnell. “I’ve just been honoured and privileged to have been a member of An Garda Síochána,” he said.