Judge Seán Ó Donnabháin said yesterday that despite the moments of extreme tension that could occur in court, they had never erupted into trouble in Washington St, Cork, for the last 24 years — “thanks to the presence of The Ringer”.
Tributes were paid yesterday to the retiring member of An Garda Síochána who safeguarded the courthouse at Washington St for almost a quarter of a century, Garda Denis Ring.
Barrister Donal McCarthy said: “He has minded this building inside and outside for almost a quarter of a century. More than anybody else in this building, if you wanted to know where a judge was, Denis Ring knew.”
As that comment generated knowing laughter in Courtroom 2 yesterday, Judge Ó Donnabháin remarked: “Hold on to yourself now, Mr McCarthy.”
On behalf of the Southern Law Association, solicitor Gerard O’Flynn, said: “Denis was always very helpful. He went the extra mile to assist you when required. He was the go-to man when you were looking for anyone in the courthouse. He was highly respectful, energetically hard-working, and diligent.
Your loss to the legal profession will be immense. You are a hard act to follow — a top man.
Court registrar Deirdre O’Mahony said to the retiring garda: “Thank you for keeping us all safe for many years, as you worked with great tact and efficiency and possessed a unique ability to know where trouble would start and diffused it before it did.”
Chief Superintendent Barry McPolin spoke of Gda Ring’s high degree of empathy for victims and their families and his ability to sense danger around corners and nip it in the bud.
Martin O’Donovan, court registrar, described the easy-going manner of the retiring garda, whether he was speaking to a senior member of judiciary or “a gouger” in custody for showing contempt of court.
Mr O’Donovan also remarked on Gda Ring’s numerous TV appearances as evidenced by Reeling In The Years, and he “always seemed to know where the TV cameras were”.
Emmet Boyle, barrister, read some words of thanks from Gda Ring: “In performing this role for 24 years, hand on heart, I looked forward to everything the day would bring.”
As for the future, he looks forward with his partner Helen and their adult children to life between Kenmare and Lanzarote, and possibly an occasional visit to Turner’s Cross to see Cork City FC, a club of which he is a founder member.