A one-man institution of the local court who treated everyone with equal respect and kindness, 80-year-old Christy Paisley last week retired as caretaker of Portlaoise Courthouse after some 25 years’ devoted service.
The Portlaoise man will now have more time to spend with wife Rose, daughters Catherine and Noelle, and his three grandchildren, Sam, Carla and Rachel, as he retires not just as caretaker of the building, but big-hearted caretaker of all the staff.
Court office manager, Catherine Magner said that when she first joined the local court she was told that Christy was the caretaker who looked after everyone. She said that this was so true, as Christy had treated all the women working there like his daughters.
“Christy knows all the secrets, but you will not get those secrets out of him,” she said, adding that he had been a huge asset to everyone.
Many glowing tributes were paid to Christy at a special function held in the courthouse on Thursday, December 21, with Minister Charlie Flanagan stopping by to acknowledge all Christy’s great work over the years.
“I don’t think anyone looked after the court so assiduously,” said Minister Flanagan. “Whether you were the most senior high court judge visiting Portlaoise, or a defendant on the steps of the courthouse awaiting sentence, everybody was the same to Christy.”
Judge Catherine Staines described Christy as an institution and said that when she first arrived in the jurisdiction seven years ago, Christy was there to welcome her with the heater on in her chambers and milk for the coffee.
“A wonderful, kind man,” said Judge Staines.
On behalf of the gardaí, Inspector Ollie Baker extended Christy best wishes and said he was the first man to tell the inspector where to go on his first day in the local court.
“He always had a kind word for everybody,” said Inspector Baker.
State prosecutor, Mr Will Fennelly said Christy was a stalwart of the court service.
“He was so welcoming to people coming in, it might have given them a false sense of security,” he joked.
And State solicitor, Donal Dunne said he had known Christy for many years and he was always most helpful and cheerful.
Although he did not speak himself, words written by Christy were read out by office staff member Niamh Holden.
“I would like to thank all the staff past and present for their kindness and respect, it’s been a pleasure working with each of you,” he said. “I will miss working here, but it’s time to go and lie on a beach and drink some cocktails.”
Never shaken nor stirred, Christy has truly earned his time in the sun and will certainly be missed in the local courts.