Former Chief Justice John L. Murray believed in “honor and truth,” his funeral reads

Former Chief Justice and Attorney General John L. Murray was an advocate of legal rights and the protection of ordinary people who believed in “honor and truth,” his funeral service heard today.

The Limerick City native, 79, died at St Vincent’s Hospital in Dublin last week after sustaining injuries in a fall.

In a tribute to his friend, former Attorney General Paul Gallagher said Mr Murray was an “extremely gifted” lawyer whose “belief in democracy and society’s institutions influenced everything he did and led him to a distinguished life of public service.” motivated by all standards”.

“John was kind, thoughtful, compassionate, devoted to public duty and a believer in honor and truth,” he said.

Mr Murray, a former prosecutor at the Limerick Criminal Courts who later defended the late Fianna Fáil TD Neil Blaney in the 1971 arms trial, rose to the highest rank in the Irish justice system, serving as Chief Justice from 2004 to 2011 and retiring 2015 as Justice of the Supreme Court.

In addition to serving twice as Attorney General between 1982 and 1991, he embarked on an international career as a judge at the European Court of Justice, which Mr Gallagher said was “characterized by (Mr Murray’s) involvement in many important cases”, which improved the life of the citizens.

“In particular, he has been involved in cases that extended protections in European law, removed obstacles to the internal market, extended the right to equal pay and created the environment in which the future development of the European Union could thrive.”

“When he retired, John spoke with gratitude for the opportunity to serve the public – it was so typical of him and so humble because we valued his contribution – he owed no gratitude,” said Mr Gallagher.

He described Mr Murray as a “deep thinker” who “generates ideas”.

“He believed in liberty, he believed in rights, he understood duties, and he saw the law not as restrictive but as empowering, as a means to improve the lives of citizens.”

Mr Murray represented the state by opposing independent Senator David Norris’ action aimed at decriminalizing homosexuality, and in his first term as Secretary General he drafted the wording of what became the 1983 Anti-Abortion Amendment, the eighth amendment that became the constitution.

His son Brian joked how his father became “the most wanted man in France” in 1982 while vacationing there with his family. He was “urgently wanted by French police at the request of the Irish government, Dad returned to become Attorney General,” he said.

Taoiseach Charlie Haughey had sent for Mr Murray after then-Secretary-General Patrick Connolly resigned after a friend and murder suspect, Malcom McArthur, was found at Mr Connolly’s home.

In a touching tribute, Brian Murray described his rugby-mad father from Munster as a “fundamentally kind, caring and deeply empathetic” man whose sense of humor was fueled by comedy duos Laurel and Hardy, Abbot and Costello, Marx Bothers and Phil Silvers.

“Above all he was a deeply devoted family man, everything he did – he did for us, our childhood was uncomplicated, carefree and really happy.”

He said his father was a “very proud Limerick man” who loved nothing more than spending family holidays in Kilkee, as well as Achill Island and Dubrovnik in Croatia.

He got the congregation laughing as he recalled how his father, who was a “strong swimmer,” could sometimes be found practicing his skill “swimming in the sea while puffing on a Havana cigar.”

“Father loved his family, he gave us everything and all we could have asked for was more time,” he concluded to applause from the congregation.

His funeral at Holy Rosary Church in Greystones, County Wicklow today was attended by the aides of President Michael D. Higgins and Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, Acting Attorney General Simon Harris and members of the judiciary.

Mr Murray is survived by his wife Gabrielle and children Catriona and Brian, brothers Michael, Hugh and Eugene. Former Chief Justice John L. Murray believed in “honor and truth,” his funeral reads

Fry Electronics Team

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