TRIBUTES were paid at Sligo District Court on Thursday to the late Judge Denis McLoughlin after his sudden death aged 62. Only moments prior to Judge Deirdre Gearty presiding over the court had news filtered through that Judge McLoughlin had sadly passed away that morning. The Drogheda native, who served in the Cavan-Monaghan district, was described as an extremely fair judge. The late judge had spent over a year in the Sligo District after the retirement of Judge Oliver McGuinness and was highly regarded by all, said solicitor Mr Gerard McGovern. Judge Gearty, who had been in college in UCD with the late judge, said she had only heard the news and was genuinely shocked. She said she had only spoken to him the day before over the phone and said it was extremely sad news. A judge’s conference that was due to take place on Thursday night was cancelled as a mark of respect. Prior to the court starting, Mr McGovern said that on behalf of his colleagues he would like to extend their sincere sympathies to Judge McLoughlin’s family. He said that he and his colleagues had only heard the sad news. He added that during his time in the Sligo District, Judge McLoughlin was extremely highly thought of and will be missed by all. The solicitor added that when Judge McLoughlin was sitting, you could never know what way it was going but you always got fairness from him. On behalf of his colleagues, Mr McGovern extended sympathy to Judge McLoughlin’s wife Marie and their three sons. On behalf of the Courts Service, Olivia Bushell also joined in the condolences and extended sympathy to Judge McLoughlin’s family and friends. Judge Gearty said she had only heard the sad news. “I am in shock. I don’t know what end in up. I cannot believe it, we only spoke yesterday on the phone.