Judge Devins stated her anger at the basic lack of respect shown to the court as she saw it, saying: “I am now sitting in Ballyhaunis on the last day of the court. I am angry at the lack of basic respect for the District Court. I am saying this as a judge of the District Court and for the staff and the people who use it. It borders on contempt for us all.”
This was a sentiment echoed by Mr O’Dwyer, who earlier had said: “All of this has been acted out with a lack of respect for everyone, from Mr Griffin who has been the caretaker of the court for over 30 years and to all of us in the west.” Mr O’Dwyer also said: “It’s an affront to the town, the Gardaí, the practitioners, and to you Judge. It’s an affront to every man, woman, and child in Ballyhaunis.”
Judge Devins said she saw this decision as a further erosion of the provision of justice at a district level that is easily available to everyone, saying: “I’ve long championed the District Court in this county, and it should be a District Court. It will be a county court for the whole county now. It’s contrary to the spirit, the meaning, and the history of the application of justice.” She went on to praise the work of everyone who had worked in the court in Ballyhaunis over the years saying: “I’d like to praise the work of Mr Michael Griffin who has looked after me so well, and even used to bring flowers from his own garden and put them in my chambers. I’d also like to thank the Gardaí, the solicitors, and all of the staff from the court office and the press.”
She also referenced a “bizarre” communication from a court official to a Mayo based solicitor who was in Australia late on Monday night informing him of the news, saying, “Bad news, Ballyhaunis and Swinford gone. Enjoy the rest of the Lions tour.” This was relayed to Mr O’Dwyer on Tuesday morning.