No traffic lights but plenty of rats when court clerk Val arrived!

October 11, 2016

He has spent almost 30 years in the confines of Letterkenny courthouse and yet has enjoyed no time off for good behaviour.

All that is soon change for manager of the court service, Val Cronin, who is to retire from his position after 28 years in the coming days.

Tributes, some of them rather unusual, were paid to the mild-mannered Corkman at Letterkenny District Court yesterday.

They were led by District Court Judge, Paul Kelly, who said Mr Cronin had put in “sterling service.”

“Very few people come to court willingly but Val and his staff have done their best that people get the best of service and are afforded all due courtesy and consideration,” he said.

Anita Toland, a colleague of Mr Cronin, always paid tribute for the help and guidance he had shown staff down through the years.

Even Circuit Court Judge John O’Hagan, interrupted his court to visit the District Court and to wish keen sportsfan Val a happy retirement.

He said that Mr Cronin was a great contributor and made things run very smoothly adding that the staff have great respect for Val saying “and I have to.”

Garda Inspector Michael Harrison said there were no traffic lights in County Donegal nevermind computers when Mr Cronin arrived in the county and sent him genuine good wishes when he steps out from behind his desk at Justice Louis Walsh Road.

Barrister Peter Nolan said he remembered Val arriving in court and helping the late caretaker Charlie Price clear the courts of rats before lighting a fire ahead of the day’s proceedings.

“I’m not joking when I say there were actual four-legged rats in the old courthouse. They were different times.

“I’d like to wish Val all the best in his retirement. The running is gone (Val completed 12 marathons in his day!) and his hips aren’t what they used to be but he will still beat anybody I know in a sports quiz,” said Mr Nolan.

Tributes to Mr Cronin were also paid by barrister Damien Crawford, solicitor Kieran O’Gorman and by the probation services.

“Mr Gorman added that Val could have stayed longer and said “it’s our loss that he didn’t.”

Mr Cronin was last to address the court and like his dealings with the public, he was to the point but always polite.

Using a sporting analogy (what else?), Val said like horse-trainer Aidan O’Brien it was easy to get the one, two and three in a race when he had such a good team around him.

And with that another chapter in the legal profession of Donegal was closed and the business of the day resumed as licensing matters were called.

* On a personal note Donegal Daily staff would like to thank Val for his kindness, help and patience down through the years when looking for “details’ from court cases. Always obliging, he will be sorely missed. Wishing him many years of golf, sport quizzes and family time with wife Rose and family.