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Judge Olann Kelleher is Cork Person of the Month

Junior Client Executive

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Olann Kelleher is Cork Person of the Month for February for his outstanding service to the legal profession, both as a solicitor and as a recently retired District Court Judge, along with his contributions to sport.

Olann’s journey from a solicitor to a much-respected District Court Judge distinguishes his career as one driven by a sense of justice, compassion, and integrity. His contributions in a variety of roles across the legal, judicial, and sporting sphere, demonstrate not only a willingness to pursue excellence but also a drive to work for the betterment of Cork and the wider community.

After spending thirteen years as a District Court Judge, Olann retired in October of last year. Reflecting on his time in the District Court, he said that “becoming a judge was a turning point in my life, one that brought both personal happiness and a sense of purpose in serving the community of Cork. It allowed me to combine my natural sense of justice with a real desire to have a positive impact on the place I call home.”

On his recent retirement, Judge Kelleher was commended for his compassionate approach in carrying out his judicial duties. His respectful demeanour towards all who appeared before him was noted by several colleagues, along with his empathetic personality and pronounced lack of ego. These characteristics, most befitting of a judge, earned him the admiration of both the legal profession and the wider Cork community.

Among Judge Kelleher’s most groundbreaking and impactful work was a court-referral program which he drove in conjunction with HSE South and the drug & alcohol treatment centre Coolmine. Through this programme, 189 young people have been afforded the opportunity to engage with rehabilitation programmes in lieu of criminal convictions for cocaine possession for personal use, offering first-time offenders the chance to avoid issues for their CV or complications in Garda vetting.

Extending beyond the legal sphere, Olann’s sporting contributions are also worthy of celebration. A life-long supporter of the League of Ireland, Olann is also a virtuoso of a number of sports, including soccer, cricket and rugby. His crowning sporting achievement was the part he played in Munster’s famous 12-0 victory over New Zealand in 1978. The win, which made Munster the first Irish team to beat the All Blacks, was roared on by 12,000 Munster supporters – a crowd which New Zealand’s Stu Wilson said resembled an attendance of 100,000.

Olann has provided exemplary service to the Cork community and the sentiments expressed since his recent retirement are evidence of a career dedicated to justice and community welfare. This collective acknowledgment underlines not only his legal acumen but also his unwavering commitment to the betterment of society and the provision of justice. Awards organiser Manus O’Callaghan acknowledged Judge Kelleher’s lasting legacy saying: “This Cork Person of the Month Award is a small but befitting token of our appreciation for Judge Kelleher’s immense contributions, which reach far beyond the legal and sporting spheres and into the lives of those all across the city and county.”

Olann’s name will now go forward alongside the other monthly winners for possible selection as Cork Person of the Year at the annual Gala Awards Lunch, to be held in January, 2025.

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