'A light has gone out in the Bar room': Tributes to deceased Cork barrister

'A light has gone out in the Bar room': Tributes to deceased Cork barrister
The late Jane Anne Rothwell

Tributes have been paid to a force of nature in the Cork legal community who also made a tremendous success of the Cork Midsummer Festival – the late Jane Anne Rothwell.

Father of the Cork Bar, Donal McCarthy, said of his young colleague at a special sitting of Cork Circuit Court, “Vivacious and outgoing, a light has gone out in the Bar room.”

Judges Seán Ó Donnabháin, Gerard O’Brien and Brian O’Callaghan presided over the tribute attended by Jane Anne Rothwell’s husband, Steven O’Neill, parents, John and Parfrey family, relatives and friends.

Mr McCarthy BL said it was appropriate that the tributes would be paid to her in the room in which she did much of her work.

He recounted how she had become an expert in family law but said her talents were in tremendous organisational skills which she extended to an extremely successful tenure at the Cork Midsummer Festival, the fruits of which were enjoyed by many people in Cork and visiting the city.

Solicitor Gerard O’Flynn on behalf of the Southern Law Association said: “Jane Anne was a great colleague and highly respected, both as a person and in her chosen profession of barrister.

She was vibrant, energetic, honourable, hard-working and diligent and always fought the good fight, never leaving a stone unturned in her efforts to win a case for her client. She lived her all-too-short life to the full.

James Duggan, barrister, said he was speaking yesterday in his capacity as chairman of the Cork Grocers Club and recalled fondly how she used her powers of persuasion to become “the first lady member of Cork Grocers Club,” a club that was established as a gentleman’s club in 1862.

“A feisty woman,” he concluded.

Mary Crowley, on behalf of the Court Service, said Ms Rothwell seemed to have been in a hurry to achieve so much in her short life and would be warmly remembered by court staff in Cork and Kerry, where she also worked.

Martin O’Donovan, on behalf of court registrars, joked that the hearts of registrars sank when Jane Anne entered the courtroom “fully geared up for battle – we knew there would be no settling the case.”

Mr O’Donovan said the barrister was a live wire and a force of nature and had a word for everyone in the course of her day.

Finally, Judge Seán Ó Donnabháin said the dignity, courage and cheerfulness with which she met the challenge of her fatal illness and transcended it was an example to everyone.

“We should all look at the way she dealt with adversity and we should learn from it,” Judge Ó Donnabháin said.

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