Many tributes to ‘fearless and committed’ Ray on his retirement

March 19th, 2023 6:30 PM

By Kieran O'Mahony

Bantry-based solicitor Ray Hennessy recently retired after 42 years as a solicitor.

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THE district courts in West Cork will be ‘quieter and duller’ without Bantry-based solicitor Ray Hennessy, according to Judge James McNulty.

The judge was speaking following Mr Hennessy’s surprise announcement at a recent sitting of Clonakilty District Court that he was retiring from the legal profession after 42 years as a solicitor in West Cork.

Judge McNulty said he was sorry to learn of Mr Hennessy’s retirement and said he represented ‘both the great and the good and sometimes the not so great and the not so good.’

‘But he treated all his clients equally, with dignity and respect and he gave his very best for each and every one of his many client,’ said Judge McNulty.

‘He carried his great knowledge of the law very lightly, and win or lose, he was always cheerful, with a ready smile.’

Judge McNulty added that both his clients and his colleagues will miss him too.

‘Certainly the district courts in West Cork will be quieter and duller without Ray, but I wish him good health, happiness and good fortune in all the years ahead of him.’

The Ballineen-native, who played football for St Mary’s GAA Club in his younger days and was a member of the winning 1980 South West Junior B Football team, was a well-known face across all courts in the District Court No 18. 

Ray qualified as a solicitor in 1982, having obtained a BCL Degree in UCC, following his secondary education in De La Salle in Waterford and later went to establish his own legal practice In Bantry.

Sgt Paul Kelly, who had played football with Ray for Bantry in both their younger days, said when he was appointed to the courts it was like their old GAA days on the pitch.

‘Ray would give me a Hail Mary of a pass, tackle me hard and occasionally tackle me late,’ quipped Sgt Kelly, who also wished him all the best in his retirement.

Plunkett Taaffe, who is president of the West Cork Bar Association, said Ray was a ‘fearless and committed’ advocate for his clients, and said it was a surprise to his colleagues when he announced his retirement.

‘He has an avid interest in all things sporting, but particularly if it entailed a ball, either big or small or round or oval,’ said Mr Taaffe, who also wished him all the best in his retirement.

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