JUDGE Tom O’Donnell, the presiding District Court Judge in Limerick city for 12 years, has been nominated to sit at the Circuit Court following a government announcement. The nomination comes after the retirement of His Hon Judge Frank O’Donnell. Educated at the Crescent College and UCD, Judge Tom O’Donnell was enrolled as a solicitor in 1976 and joined the legal aid panel four years later. Judge Tom O’Donnell said that he was “delighted and flabbergast at the nomination” but that he wound be around for another while yet – “I have not left the building just yet” he quipped.
Following a term of eight years as a free legal aid defence solicitor, he was nominated and appointed as a District Court Judge in 1999. He has been a member of the District Court Rules committee since 2003.
Judge O’Donnell has presided over many important cases. None more so than a an application before him over 12 months ago where he was the sitting judge that ruled in favour of an application made by over 100 vintners in Limerick city to allow them serve alcohol on Good Friday, to coincide with the Munster versus Leinster Magners League rugby match in Thomond Park on April 2, 2010.
Often noting that controversy may surround some rulings and cases, Judge O’Donnell always stated that his court was “always a court of record and not a court of precedent”.