“I’m going to write to the minister for justice..”

Monaghan District Court Judge Sean Martin McBride has been making headlines again.. This time it’s Tyrone and not Londonderry that was the target of his judicial displeasure. Strange story all round, it should be said, with the wrong woman summonsed to court in the first place. Apparently required to pay 50 euro to have the case dismissed, the woman in court only had sterling.. This, according to the reports, resulted in Judge McBride telling her she was “showing the typical thickness from Tyrone people”. [new links] Sinn Fein’s Barry McElduff, MLA for West Tyrone, is “going to write to the minister for justice from the south and ask that he withdraws the remark”. [Signed ‘Disgusted of Tyrone’? – Ed]From the Irish News report [subs for 24 hours]

Legal technicalities meant that Ms McGrath still had to pay E50 bail to get the case thrown out in the circuit court.

It was when she explained that she and her father, who had accompanied her to the hearing, had only sterling that the judge accused her of “showing the typical thickness from Tyrone people”.

“I am well used to it through football growing up in Donegal and different things,” he said.

Ms McGrath’s father went to a nearby bank to withdraw the money.

Earlier Judge McBride ac-cused her of disrespecting the court by shaking her head when told that a different court would have to dismiss the case and she would have to pay for the transfer.

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  • Pete, you should submit that one to Private Eye!!

  • Rory

    Sinn Fein’s Barry McElduff, MLA for West Tyrone, is “going to write to the minister for justice from the south and ask that he withdraws the remark”‘.

    Which strikes me as a futile exercise given that it was not the minister for justice who made the remark in the first place. Perhaps he would have better luck if he were to write to “Judge” (should that not be “Justice”?) McBride.

  • George

    When I saw this I had a feeling that GAA sensibilities would be in there somewhere. It’s definitely Championship time of year again.

    Sinn Fein’s Barry McElduff, MLA for West Tyrone, is “going to write to the minister for justice from the south and ask that he withdraws the remark”.

    That’s poor from McElduff. The Minister can’t do anything of the sort. It would be an attack on the independence of judges and moving into violation of the separation of powers territory.

  • Jamie Gargoyle

    Leaving the slur on the county aside for a moment, is there any more info on the case?
    Is it usual for NI residents to get summonsed to court in the Republic without being extradited?
    Is this fee (which smells a bit like “cough up and it’ll all go away) a fairly standard thing?
    Was this person a victim of identity theft, or was it a genuine case of mistaken identity?
    As for shaking her head, from what I’ve read thus far I think she should be commended for admirable restraint rather than admonished…

  • Alan

    If Judges are sufficiently independent to be unassailable to gentle prodding from a Justice Minister for a blatantly racist remark, then the world is in a state of chasis.

    Go for it, Barry!

  • Jamie Gargoyle

    It seems (barring another case of mistaken identity) that M’Lud is not unaccustomed to making headlines:


  • Oilifear

    Craziest story I’ve heard in the longest time. Where do you begin commenting on it?

  • George

    it’s the price you have to pay for having an independent judiciary.

    Political interference of any description in the administration of justice, including what you call “gentle prodding”, is seen as a much greater danger.

  • BonarLaw

    This is the same judge that volunteered himself for the Stroke City debate.

    As for plitical interference, I thought political cronyism was the preferred means of appointment to the Irish bench. If I’m wrong, please give me the link for their Judicial Appointments Commission.

  • Mick Fealty


    I would guess he is an endless source of income to whichever local hack acts as ‘stringer’ in Monaghan for the national press.

    He’s hardly using his independence to enhance the reputation of the Irish Judiciary.

  • McBride fires from the lip

    “A judge in the Republic of Ireland has apologised for telling a court he would use a shotgun to “blow the head off” anyone who broke into his home.”

  • Rory

    While Barry McIlduff is about it he could remind the minister that it could be said that the reason for the disparity in currency and the retention of the name ‘Londonderry’ is as a direct result of the actions of the founding fathers of the state and class which both he and the justice serve in selling out the 6 counties for the dubious reward of the exercise of power within their their own truncated and distorted political area. But I don’t suppose he will.

  • Pancho’s Horse

    ‘Nail’ and ‘head’ come to mind, Rory.

  • George

    If I’m wrong, please give me the link for their Judicial Appointments Commission.

    There is the Judicial Appointments Board. Whenever there is a judicial vacancy the Board posts adverts and solicits applications. It considers these and also may hold interviews in order to find candidates who are qualified for the post. It must then recommend to the Minister seven qualified posts (if it can find that number).

    There are no obligations, however, to involve it for promotions. Somehow I doubt this particular judge will have to worry about that.

  • joeCanuck

    Just goes to prove that judges can be as thick as Tyrone people.
    Before anyone verbally assails me, I’m from Tyrone and proud of it.

  • Rory

    “I regret my choice of language and want to make it clear that I am totally opposed to the use of guns and against all violence.”

    Said the good Justice after being critcised for saying that he would “blow the head off” anyone who had the temerity to enter his home uninvited.

    This apology clearly indicates that the Justice is unwilling to support either the Garda, the armed forces, court bailiffs or prison officers all of whom require recourse to the deployment of violence in the execution of their duties – some, like the Garda and the army employing “the use of guns”.

    I don’t know how the poor man manages to mash his potatoes without violent recourse to a masher. Does he simply glower at them and sentence them to collapse themselves into a fluffy mound?

  • “a different court would have to dismiss the case and she would have to pay for the transfer.”

    Why is she being asked to pay for a mistake that appears to have been made by the Irish courts service? Is she entitled to some form of compensation if an error has been made?

  • FraserValley

    You’ve got to give the man credit all the same. He seems to have united forum readers Unionist and Republican. What a _ick head.

  • “Inspector O’Brien has been framed and set up for a crime he didn’t commit,” Judge McBride said. “He is not guilty and leaves this court without a stain on his collar.”

    Mr. Hickey said the defendant took the keys with the intention of going into the church to retrieve his phone. “I believe that when he got into the church his intentions changed,” the solicitor stated. “Sense went out the window and he had the idea that he would take the bottle of wine.” .. Judge McBride said he wasn’t going to suspend any sentence because the defendant had obviously learned nothing from the mercy extended to him by Judge Brennan. He was going to send the defendant away for six months’ imprisonment.

  • Rory

    Clearly it’s time that James Garner was brought out of retirement to complete a necessary final instalment in the movie trilogy with Support Your Local Judge. I would be quite happy to take over the Jack Elam character to play the Judge’s confused sidekick, Inspector O’Brien.

  • Rory, there’ll be tolls in Tyrone when Ireland is united – and they’ll look like this: