Friday, 21 November 2014

Francis Comerford, Galway barrister,
one of seven new Circuit Court judges

Francis Comerford … Galway barrister appointed to the Circuit Court

Patrick Comerford

The Galway Barrister, Francis Comerford, BL, is one of seven new judges in the Circuit Court nominated by the Government this week.

The new judge was educated at University College Galway (now NUI Galway) and at the King’s Inns, and was called to the Bar in 1985.

At present, Judge Comerford practices on the Western Circuit and he has, wide experience in many areas of law including criminal, land law, personal injuries and family law.

He has previously lectured in various law courses, in particular the law of evidence, at UCG.

At its meeting earlier this week [19 November 2014], the Government nominated Mr Francis Comerford along with Judge Eugene O’Kelly, Ms Karen Fergus SC, Ms Melanie Greally BL, Mr John Hannan BL, Ms Karen O’Connor BL and Ms Elma Sheahan BL for appointment by the President to the Circuit Court.

Judge Comerford is married to Caroline Phelan. He is the son of Dr Francis Rory Comerford, who was Vice-Dean of the Medical Faculty at UCG, and the Dr Philomena (O’Toole) Comerford, a lecturer in Anatomy.

Comerford House, near Spanish Arch, Galway: donated to Galway City by the Comerford family and for a time the home of the Galway City Museum (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

But law is part of the tradition of this branch of the Comerford family. The new judge’s uncle, Henry Comerford, is a well-known Galway solicitor. He was born in Dublin in 1936, and was educated at Castleknock College, Dublin (1954), and at UCD and UCG. He qualified as a solicitor in 1963, and joined the family practice in Galway established by his father, William JV Comerford.

William was also a well-known local historian in Co Galway, and he believed his branch of the Comerford family was descended from the Comerford family of Inchiholohan, Co Kilkenny. His historical papers included: “Some notes on the Borough of Tuam and its records, 1817–1822,” in the Journal of the Galway Archaeological and Historical Society. He was a founding member of the Old Tuam Society in 1942. He moved to Comerford House, beside the Spanish Arch, Galway, in the 1950s, but when he retired in the 1970s he moved to Dublin, where he died.

Henry Comerford is the author of the standard reference books on fisheries legislation in Ireland. In the 1950s, he was a member of the Radio Eireann Players, and featured in many broadcast plays, including Denis Johnston’s The Moon on the Yellow River. Later he acted with the Gate and the Gas Company Theatre, Dun Laoghaire, and he had two plays produced in the Peacock Theatre.

Henry Comerford continued in partnership in Galway following his father’s retirement in the early 1970s. He later amalgamated the then firm of Henry Concanon & Co with Sean Ford or Sean MacGiollarnath and Albert L O’Dea under the practice name of Concanon & Co as the new firm’s name.

In the 1981 General Election, he stood unsuccessfully for the Dail as a Fine Gael candidate.

The partnership Concanon & Co was dissolved amicably in 1982, and Henry Comerford began a new practice as a sole practitioner that year as Henry Comerford & Co at Sea Road, Galway. He retired when John Dillon-Leetch and Robert Potter-Cogan acquired the practice in 1995, and they continue to practice with the name of Henry Comerford & Co.

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