New Cleveland judge a Mayo grandson

Posted in Connect on December 4, 2018.


A CLEVELAND attorney whose grandparents came from Achill and Tourmakeady has been elected as a judge in the recent judicial elections in Cleveland. William T McGinty, known as Billy, was elected as a Commons Plea Judge in the Cuyahoga County Judicial Elections in Cleveland. The Democratic candidate defeated his Republican opponent Lorraine Coyne by 247,070 votes to 131,474 in the election held in early November. The 66 year old has been a partner at the McGinty Hillow and Spellacy law firm since 1980, a practice focused on criminal and juvenile defence.

He replaces the incumbent for this office, Michael E Jackson, who could not run because he has reached the state’s mandatory judicial retirement age of 70. He takes up the position on January 3, 2019. Billy’s grandfather was John James McGinty (1894-1972), who was born in Tonragee, Achill, and his grandmother was Bridget Thornton (1892-1977), from Glensaul, Tourmakeady.

REGULAR VISITOR
JOHN McGinty emigrated to Scotland in 1913 and worked on potato farms until 1916, when he left for America. He enlisted in the US Army and fought in France during World War I. On his return to the US, he began work for the Nickle Plate Railroad, which was headquartered in Cleveland. He remained there until his retirement in 1959. John and Bridget had two sons, John and Thomas, who both served in the US armed forces during World War II, and were employed in the Cleveland Fire Department and Police Department, respectively.
Miriam O’Malley-Fagan, whose grandmother, the late Molly McHugh (nee Heaney), from Tonragee was a first cousin of Billy’s father, John, told The Mayo News that they were thrilled to hear that their cousin had been made a judge.

“We were delighted to hear that Billy was elected in the recent elections because he ran a couple of years ago and was unsuccessful in the primaries. Because of his age, this was the last time he could run in the election. He has a strong family who got right behind him and they pulled out all the stops to get him elected. They were determined to see him succeed this time, and everyone here in Tonragee is very proud of him,” she said. She explained that Billy and his family still regularly visit Achill where they have a large family circle and he plans to return to Achill next September for her brother Peter’s wedding.

OTHER LINKS
ACHILL’S connections to and political influence in Cleveland remains strong, and two other individuals with Achill links were also elected judges on the same day. Democratic nominee Jennifer O’Malley (34) was elected as a Juvenile Court Judge for Cuyahoga County when she defeated the incumbent, Denise Nancy Rini, by 214,986 to 145,117. O’Malley’s great-grandfather was from Currane. Miriam O’Malley-Fagan said it was an historic occasion for the peninsula. “If their people who had to leave Achill could see them now they would be so proud of them and their achievements in law and politics,” she said. Ashley Kilbane (35) was elected as a Commons Plea Judge for Cuyahoga County. An assistant Cuyahoga County prosecutor, Kilbane is originally from Chicago but she is married to Martin Kilbane from Cleveland, whose family have strong Achill connections. The couple have two children together.

By Anton McNulty,
Mayo News, 4th December 2018

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