‘A judge for the people and the community’

Tributes paid to the late John F Neilan

Tributes have been paid following the passing of retired District Court Judge John F. Neilan of ‘Rathanane’, Abbey Street, Roscommon, who died peacefully at home on November 24th, surrounded by his family.

A Roscommon native, he was called to the bench in the early 1980s and served as District Court judge for the Tullamore and Kilbeggan area, before later serving in the Athlone, Mullingar, and Longford areas until his retirement in July 2010.

One of the country’s longest-serving district judges, the late John F Neilan came from a family with a long and distinguished legal background, stretching over many decades and continuing to the present day. Very highly regarded in legal circles, he was an outspoken judge who was often in the headlines.

Sean Mahon, Vice-Chairman of the Roscommon Bar Association, paid tribute to the late John Neilan this week, stating: “When you were before him, you always got fairness. He took his job seriously, believing he had not only a legal responsibility but also a civil responsibility to his role. He was a judge not only for the people but also for the community. He always believed the law and the courts were there to serve the people. He did his job with dignity and some skill.

“Together with my colleagues, I would like to join in extending my sympathies to John’s family on their sad loss,” Mr. Mahon concluded.

Sympathies are expressed to his wife Peggy, daughter Gillian, sons Jonathan and Jevan, and their respective partners Damien, Deirdre and Amanda, as well as to his grandsons Daniel, Conor, Christian, Finn and Toman, sisters Ann and Bridget, brothers William and Gerard, sisters-in-law, brothers-in-law, nieces, nephews, extended family and friends. He was predeceased by his sisters Elaine and Edwina, brothers Pat, Brian and Maurice, and brother-in-law Gerry Liddy.

The Removal took place on Saturday morning last, to the Sacred Heart Church, Roscommon, for Mass of the Resurrection at 11 am. The late John Neilan was laid to rest in St. Coman’s Cemetery.

Click to also read Paul Healy’s article on Judge Neilan’s passing in Editors Picks